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Columbus Pledges $7 Million To Buy Laptops For 20,000 Students

Columbus City Schools Board of Education
David Holm
Columbus City Schools Board of Education

With all Columbus City Schools students attending at least some of their classes online in the fall, the city is using $7 million of federal coronavirus relief money to supply students with Chromebooks.

City leaders say the CARES Act funding will help 20,000 students access education, and even out inequities exacerbated by the move to remote learning.

There are over 50,000 students in Columbus City Schools, but the district didn't have funding to provide each one with technology needed to complete school online.

“Virtual learning shined a bright light on the disparities in our community with respect to education,” says Mayor Andrew Ginther. “Those left without access to technology have been to a great degree left behind. And the schools and the city find that unacceptable.”

Under a plan released at the beginning of the month by Columbus City Schools, high school students will remain entirely remote for at least the first half of the school year, while K-8 students will alternate days of in-person and online classes.

The $7 million comes out of the $157 million total in CARES Act funding that the city received back in May.

"Technology and digital learning will be critical components to the future of schools, pandemic or not,” says superintendent Talisa Dixon. “CCS’s continued partnership with Mayor Ginther and Columbus City Council is critical as we ensure equity in education for all our students both in the short term during this pandemic, and long-term to drive student achievement.”