FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The Poudre School District school board has approved nearly $7 million in spending that will largely help students of all age groups better learn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of dollars will be spent on purchasing laptops, mobile Wi-Fi routers and more for students who need them.

The district elected to move forward with remote learning until at least Oct. 16, with the possibility of students having to continue remote learning well past that date.

“With that in mind, these devices will be crucial,” said Madeline Noblett, Executive Director of Communications for PSD.

Any spending over $250,000 must be voted on by the school board. The district approved spending which will take roughly $3.5 million from a COVID-19 emergency budget, and another nearly $3 million from the district’s “technology refresh budget.” The refresh budget is a pre-approved budget which the district commonly uses to keep students with modern technology.

“We will distribute more than 30,000 laptops, Chromebooks and other devices to all of our students from pre-school through 12th grade so they can engage in remote education,” Noblett told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.

Noblett said that even before COVID-19 emerged, there were inequities across the district when it came to at-home access to technologies. One major issue came with all students having equal access to adequate Wi-Fi. With the district’s spending, all students will be able to have the internet access needed to learn from home.

“(We purchased) ‘Mi-Fi,’ or internet hotspot devices, that we are distributing to students who don’t have reliable internet services in their home,” Noblett said.

Noblett said many of the purchases were made possible by taxpayers who agreed, years ago, to help fund a program that increased access to technology for all students. Though the district initially intended for many of the devices to stay in the school buildings, now the money is being used to make sure education from home is proper.

“It was a necessary investment we needed to make as a district so students can access their remote learning during these uncertain time,” Noblett said. “Technology is infused in whatever we do as humans every day, and these will be critical skills they will take with them in to the workforce. Both in today’s environment with COVID and beyond.”

Some of the funds from the approved spending will also be used to purchase masks and other PPE. Sanitation devices were also ordered which can disinfect a classroom in a matter of minutes.

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