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RPS Faces Laptop Shortage During Transition to Remote Learning

Man sitting behind desk
Superintendent Jason Kamras initially ordered the additional 10,000 Chromebooks in June. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

*Patrick Larsen reported this story

Only a quarter of the laptops ordered by Richmond Public Schools - that were going to be given to students for online classes - have shown up, according to school officials.

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras delivered the news of the shortage in an email to parents Wednesday night. The district intended to distribute the devices to support remote learning.

In March, the school district estimated that around 16,000 students may need access to a laptop at home. 16,000 Chromebooks were distributed earlier this year, and according to the newsletter RPS purchased an additional 10,000 in June, anticipating an increased need as the schools transitioned to remote learning.

The delivery of the laptops was delayed, Kamras said, by global supply restrictions.

The school district says it currently has 2,600 Chromebooks on hand, and will prioritize distributing them to English learners and students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Kamras anticipates delivery of the remaining Chromebooks by the end of September.

In the meantime, RPS will distribute Android tablets to all K-12 students who need them to access instructional material, while the pre-K program will go entirely offline for the start of the year.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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