As a virtual start approaches, some St. Louis area schools face laptop backlogs | Education

Now some local districts are coming up short.

Jennings plans to have most students do all classes remotely. Roughly a third — generally younger students and those with special needs, said Superintendent Art McCoy — will learn partially in-person, on alternating days.

And Jennings has enough devices for grades one to 12, McCoy said. But for preschoolers and kindergartners, the district is aiming to provide touchscreen devices. McCoy said a touchscreen device is preferable for a younger child, because it is easier than using a computer mouse.

About two months ago, the district paid for 175 touchscreen Chromebooks, McCoy said. But he doesn’t expect they’ll arrive by Aug. 24, when school starts.

McCoy said he believes vendors have had trouble keeping up with the volume.

“We were one-device-to-every-family in 2017,” McCoy said. Now, he said, “the goal is one device per every child.”

He said he expects the shipment to arrive around mid-September. Until then, teachers will try to guide parents through the process of helping the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students use non-touchscreen devices. The county public library will be able to provide some touchscreen devices, but those do not have internet access.

For years, Maplewood-Richmond Heights’ first-graders through seniors have used Chromebooks in class.

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