Jefferson County Special Needs Students Getting Needed Technology

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With COVID-19 closing classrooms, students in Jefferson County Schools (JCPS) will soon be virtual learning from home. Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio announced over a video conference call with Mayor Greg Fischer on Wednesday, special needs students will receive a hotspot WiFi providing device in addition to a Chromebook to help with remote schoolwork. 

6,050 hotspots are going to students in the Exceptional Child Education (ECE) program at JCPS. It will allow connectivity, for things like physical therapy. District staff purchased the devices, and together with the cost of service, pay $871,200. 

“One of the things that we really wanted to do was to reduce the opportunity gap when it came to connectivity for students and wifi. And so we’ve been really working with some community partners, working on the potential for some funding, and also how we could come together and collaborate and find a way to get hotspots to our students,” Dr. Pollio said. 

The deadline for families to apply for a Chromebook has been extended to 5 p.m. on Thursday. So far, 15,000 laptops are going out to children who either qualify by being on free or reduced lunch or part of the ECE program. They will be shipped Thursday. There are another 10,000 available. 

“We know it’s not going to be easy, we know it’s going to be difficult. There’s a lot of challenges- how we grade, how we provide instruction during this time… we know we have families that have multiple children in their household and maybe only one device. We know we have households that have no devices,” said Pollio. 

Virtual learning rolls out on Tuesday, April 7.