August 5, 2020
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Digital Divide Task Force Connect School Leaders to Available Devices as Learning Resumes
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force held a special webinar today to connect school districts to available technology during a time when most schools are starting the school year in distance learning and many are experiencing a shortage of computing devices.
The task force, co-chaired by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), also provided an update on one-time funding available immediately to school districts to purchase devices. State law requires that schools have a plan for ensuring access to devices and connectivity for all students whenever distance learning occurs.
“We know that up to 1 million students still need devices for distance learning, and we’re in a race against the clock as most schools plan to begin the next school year virtually,” Thurmond said. “We are proud to have provided this opportunity for all school districts in California to learn about the public-private partnerships available that can help us accelerate our efforts to meet the urgent needs of our most vulnerable students.”
During today’s webinar, panelists provided more details about a landmark collaboration with Apple and T-Mobile to fulfill orders from districts—which could reach 100,000 students during the back to school period and up to 1 million students by the end of 2020—with discounted iPads already equipped with high-speed internet connectivity.
The Governor’s Office also offered additional guidance for school districts regarding the $5.3 billion in one-time funding in the state budget for schools to strengthen distance learning heading into the same year. These funds—a rare opportunity for districts to make short and long-term investments in student technology—can be used immediately for purchasing needed devices.An archived broadcast of today’s task force meeting can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100