Stock photo

Stock photo

State to spend $24 million to purchase computing devices for students

COVID-19 relief funds for students still needing computers across Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the allocation of $24 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to purchase approximately 64,000 computing devices for students across the state.

These devices will enable students to receive their education in the new COVID-19 remote learning environment. The first shipment of 20,000 devices is expected in the coming weeks, according to a Oct. 30 Governor’s Office news release.

“Having their own device is vital to students and staff participating and succeeding in distance learning,” Inslee said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at every Washingtonian, especially working families and students — having the proper equipment to navigate their new educational reality shouldn’t be one of those challenges.”

At the beginning of the 2020–2021 school year, more than 95% of students in Washington began the year in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the nine regional educational service districts, approximately 64,000 students and school staff statewide do not currently have their own computing device or tablet.

The governor, along with Educational Service Districts and OSPI, will work to identify which districts will receive the first shipment of devices in early November.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the current manufacturing and global supply chain for computing devices is limited. Many districts that have devices on order have had their delivery dates pushed to six weeks, three months or more. And some districts just simply don’t have enough CARES Act or local funding to make all the purchases necessary. Bulk procurement on the part of the state will help to bring devices to Washington more quickly — and at a lower rate.

Devices must meet the needs of students and local districts, provide adequate technical specifications, and be available in the near-term at a competitive price. Due to the source of funding, devices must be received before the end of the year.

“With most of our students learning from home right now, one critical need has been access to technology,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “Since last spring, school districts across the state have deployed hundreds of thousands of laptops and tablets to students so they can learn remotely. I’m grateful to the governor’s office for their partnership as we continue to close the digital divide.”

While having a device is necessary to participate in distance learning, connectivity to the internet also poses a barrier to participating in remote learning. To help meet this need, OSPI has allocated $8.8 million in CARES Act funds to buy internet plans for 60,000 families who cannot afford them. In addition, the state has set up more than 600 WIFI hotspots across Washington, with the governor reviewing proposals to further speed up the state’ path to universal broadband connection.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

File photo
Proposed bill aims to trade handcuffs for help when it comes to drug use

Supreme Court decision to strike down drug possesion law leaves oppurtunity to shift paradigm

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
House passes bill to increase financial reporting, transparency by healthcare providers

Bill’s prime sponsor says it will help address healthcare equity and affordability.

File photo
Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two  (Johnson & Johnson)
Inslee OKs use of single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The governor acted after receiving the recommendation of a scientific panel enlisted by Western states.

Freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish. File photo
Encouraging numbers for kokanee salmon spawn count

Lake Sammamish kokanee aren’t out of the woods by any stretch, but… Continue reading

In this file photo, Tayshon Cottrell dons his graduation cap and gown, along with a face mask reading: “Wear it! Save America” at Todd Beamer High School’s virtual graduation walk recording on May 20, 2020, in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Law gives Washington high school seniors leeway to graduate

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that can waive some requirements for students who were on track before the pandemic.

File photo
Study shows Washingtonians exceeded ‘heavy drinking’ threshold in 2020

The survey suggests Washingtonians drank more than 17 alcoholic beverages a week on average.

Mercer Island School District first-graders returned to in-person classes on Jan. 19, 2021. Here, Northwood Elementary School students head into the building. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island School District
Governor: Educators are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine

“This should give educators more confidence,” Jay Inslee said. Other frontline workers could soon be next.

Most Read