OUSD Statement on Distance Learning and the Digital Divide
Oakland, CA -- Here is a statement from Oakland Unified School District regarding distance learning and the digital divide, and how the District is addressing the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, shelter in place and school closures.
"The digital divide is one of the biggest challenges that school districts like Oakland face, and our current circumstances have made the situation significantly worse. Students with computers and internet access at home can access their education in countless ways that those without technology cannot. That’s why the District has been working to get technology into the hands of as many students as possible during the pandemic. We conducted a school by school survey of student need and have since distributed more than 16,000 Chromebooks from our school site Chromebook inventory. Our partner, Tech Exchange has also distributed 440 laptops, 302 tablets and is in the process of distributing close to 600 hot spots.
"Oakland is far from alone in facing these challenges. One and a half million Bay Area residents do not have home internet, and 40% of low-income households lack internet access and a computer. In Oakland, of our 50,000 students in charter and District-run schools, fully half are disconnected or under-connected from the internet. We have been able to close that gap considerably by distributing our school site Chromebooks. But there is much more to do, which is why tomorrow, along with Mayor Libby Schaaf, Tech Exchange and the Oakland Public Education Fund, we are launching a major fundraising campaign to do everything possible to close the tech divide. Based on our student need survey, right now, we need more than 1400 additional Chromebooks and about 3400 hotspots. Our long-term goal is to have a computer for every student in OUSD, every year, giving all young people the basic tools they need to take full advantage of their education."