Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade students in Gainesville City Schools will need to be a little patient, but more technology tools are headed their way.
The school board approved spending $1,219,000 at SureLock Technologies for 4,100 Chromebook laptop computers for the elementary group at their meeting Monday. They also approved the Go Guardian 1:1 Device Filtering and Classroom Management Suite along with the computers, at $52,812.
Technology Director Jill Hobson said the previous Chromebooks approved by the board in the spring will most likely arrive in September, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a delay wasn't uncommon.
"If anybody who is here or is listening (to the virtual board meeting) goes out to buy a device... it's not unusual for them to say we don't have any in stock, it's going to be later, and in some cases they're telling you that if you order it now, January or February," Hobson said regarding the estimated arrival date of February 2021 for the laptop order.
The Chromebooks will be purchased with Consolidated Funds in conjunction with the Department of Academics.
Hobson said the Go Guardian devices would help the district not only increase the number of devices that the system had, but also how the devices would be used.
"Now, we're looking at devices that if they're issued to every student, they're sent home to that child on a daily basis for them to carry home, we want to make sure that when those devices go home and they are used, that they are safe," said Hobson. "We also want to make sure in the classroom that teachers have the monitoring tools they need to be able to deal with having more screens in use."
Hobson said the devices allowed them to filter the device, even when off campus, and allowed teachers to view all screens in the classroom.
The school system decided to utilize virtual instruction the first three weeks of class and then transition to face to face instruction, in hopes that both students and staff would be better equipped for potential switching between remote and in-person learning during the ongoing pandemic.