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HCSD announces dates for Chromebook pickup

From the Harlan County School District

The Harlan County School District will begin distributing limited electronic devices on Monday (Aug. 24) to students and families who have no access for the virtual learning program.

In an effort to make certain that all students have access to a device, district officials are encouraging families to use their devices, which can access the internet with a web browser. These may include but are not limited to iPads, Chromebooks, laptops, desktop computers and tablets. Phones are an option but not preferred.

The Odysseyware platform being used may be accessed from any device which connects to the internet.

“We are asking all of our HC families to pull together and use devices they already have in their homes so the families who don’t have a device can utilize our supply of Chromebooks until our new shipment arrives,” said Superintendent Brent Roark.

Roark said he asked the district’s principals and their designated employees to work with families on securing devices for use until a shipment of new Chromebooks arrive this fall.

“We currently have 2,300 Chromebooks, which was more than sufficient to meet our needs under our original plan to have half of our students attend school in person and half of our students to attend school virtually,” he said. “Once we were required to modify our plan to have all students attend virtually, this reduced our ability to have Chromebooks for all students by Aug. 31.”

He said the district’s goal is to provide devices first to those students who do not have access to any other device. Then, he has encouraged staff to work with families of having a device for every two students in the residence. It may be necessary for families with students in an elementary school and the high school to share a device.

“We are asking our families and community to assist us as much as possible so that each student will be able to take part in the virtual learning program until the new shipment arrives,” said Roark.

He noted that a nationwide shortage has delayed shipments to schools and businesses across the nation due to a large number of orders as education and work have shifted from schools and businesses to homes.

Families will be able to visit their schools from Monday (Aug. 24) through Friday (Aug. 28) to check out a device, if needed. The Chromebooks will remain the property of the school district and the responsibility of the student and parent/guardians checking out the device.

The district technology staff will utilize filtering and tracking properties on all devices just as if the student was working at school. This is to make certain students do not access inappropriate content. In addition, should a Chromebook be lost or stolen, the technology staff will disable these devices. They are then unusable.

District-issued Chromebooks will have limited functions, primarily, only to access the Odysseyware website. Students will not need to be online for seven to eight hours per day.

Students will receive their district and Odysseyware passwords when they visit their school to pick up their assigned Chromebook.

The district will deploy internet accessible buses at the start of school to various rural areas to assist students who do not have internet services. School parking lots will also be hotspots for the internet. Up to 21 additional sites will be listed late in the coming week.

Any church, business or government agency willing to share internet access with students may contact the community school for more information or the district’s technology office at 606-573-4330.

It is important to call your child’s school to see if an appointment is necessary for pickup. Harlan County High School students should make an appointment by calling 606-574-2020.