Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee announced that starting this week, DC Public Schools (DCPS) will begin distributing devices to students in grades K-8. During the week of March 30, DCPS began distributing tablets to students in grades 9-12 to ensure that high school students have access to the technology needed for course-specific learning and remain on a path to graduation. Individual schools are reaching out to families directly to distribute devices and hotspots.
“Throughout this entire experience, our students, families, and educators have been incredibly creative and flexible – stepping up to the challenge of learning at home,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we continue working together to flatten the curve, we are focused on distributing the tools and resources that support teaching and learning and help our students and educators stay connected.”
DCPS is distributing up to 16,000 devices to families who do not have a device at home as part of the Empowered Learners Initiative, a three-year investment to close the digital divide and empower learners through technology. These devices will allow students to continue learning at home and provide access to online resources while school buildings are closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
In partnership with the newly established DC Education Equity Fund, DCPS is also working with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer to distribute up to 10,000 hotspots to families across the District who do not currently have internet access.
In March, Mayor Bowser announced the DC Education Equity Fund. The fund is a collaboration between Education Forward DC, the DC Public Education Fund, and the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and is assisting with providing resources and support to students, educators, and schools. More than 140 donors have contributed to the fund, including:
- A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation
- AVIV Foundation
- Crown Castle
- Education Forward DC
- Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
- Horning Family Fund
- Joseph E Robert, Jr. Charitable Trust
- State of Qatar
- Terry and Lindsay Eakin
- The Andrew and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund
- The City Fund
- The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
- The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation
The fund will be used to increase internet access and purchase digital devices. Residents can learn more about the Fund and how to give at dcedequity.org. The funds received will be used for:
- ensuring students’ basic needs are being met so they are ready to learn;
- providing students with internet and device access; and
- enabling students to have a successful transition when schools reopen with additional supports and learning resources.
For more information on the District’s COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.dc.gov.