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Raa Middle School distributes desktops amid student laptop shortage

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 18:25:10-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Several Raa middle school parents spent their lunch breaks in line to help their kids get online for classes starting Monday in Leon County.

While they may not be getting the devices they originally expected, the district is doing its best to deliver on its connectivity promise.

"We are giving a temporary solution of giving out desktops for all of our students who are participating in our digital academy," said Marcus Scott, the principal of Raa Middle School.

Raa Middle School plans to hand out more than 363 computers between now and Saturday as part of the district's plan to keep kids connected to their classrooms while they wait on the individual Chromebooks promised earlier this summer.

Of the school's 900-plus students, around 530 opted for digital-only classes.

Even though some of those families may have computers at home, parents say they are still necessary.

"The school suggested that since they're offering the computers that I may need my computer at home for work, that we come and pick up the computers," said Jasmine Harvey, a Raa Middle School parent.

Devices issued by the district come equipped with added security protecting students from surfing harmful websites while they should be studying, one of Harvey's primary concerns.

"I think that to me, the biggest challenge is them transitioning from being in the classroom to right in the teacher's face and being able to ask questions versus doing it virtually," Harvey said. "Dealing with internet connections, lagging, and other issues that may occur."

While navigating the challenges of digital learning will be a mostly new experience for parents, students, and teachers alike, Scott says.

"Whatever model they are, whether it's digital academy or brick and mortar," said Scott. "We've had so much good feedback from our parents, good feedback from our teachers. They're ready to just get back in the groove of things, get back learning."

Those who receive desktops will use them until the district receives enough Chromebooks for all 32,500 students. The earliest that's expected at this time is in October.

Scott says his parents and teachers are up to the challenge of using the temporary devices if gets the kids back learning.

"One of the things we really have to realize is that no one has any experience on what we're going to go through or what we're going to be faced with going into this new model, so there is an element of apprehension and an element of anxiety," Scott said. "But our teachers have really prepared they've really worked hard all week

If your child is registered for digital classes with Raa, check with your child's schools for individual pick up times.