MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB)–Governor Ron DeSantis announced that more than 32,000 laptops will be distributed to dozens of rural school districts across the state. This generous donation will help distance learning come easier for some students in the panhandle.
“Collectively over our 14 districts, we’re expecting over 10,000 Chromebooks,” said John Selover, the Executive Director of the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium.
The Chromebooks will help low-income students in rural areas who lack access to a computer and the internet.
“The gift of Chromebooks will make it possible for students to maximize their learning while at home,” Selover said.
Jackson County is just one of the 14 districts on the receiving end. The district is on track to receive around 2,000 Chromebooks this week.
“We’ve been told that they should be delivered this week so we’re hopeful and looking forward to getting those devices,” said Superintendent Larry Moore.
Moore says addressing the digital divide has been a challenge. But the district has been hard at work finding solutions.
This week, the district announced students can visit 15 sites around the county for free WiFi.
“They can drive up to the school and sit in the parking lot with their device and log onto our WiFi just as if they were in a classroom,” Moore said.
Moore says they also hope to have two buses operational by mid-week that will have WiFi capabilities.
“We will station those buses in various places in the county where WiFi is not accessible,” Moore said.
The district hopes to release a schedule for the two buses soon.
Students can access WiFi in the following areas from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Grand Ridge School – front of the school and bus ramp
Cottondale High School – near the Gym
Cottondale Elementary School – teacher parking lot
Jackson Alternative School – front of the school
Graceville Elementary School – front of the school and better closer to the office
Graceville High School – close to the main building
Riverside Elementary School – bus pickup area
Malone School – front and on the side of the school
Hope School – parking lot
Golson Elementary – very limited Wi-Fi in the car rider area
Marianna High School – limited WIFI in the parking areas
Marianna Middle School – front of school
Sneads Elementary School – car rider line and the bus pick up area
Sneads High School – front and back of the school
School Board Office – parking lot