Across the state of Arizona, schools have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many school systems scramble to launch online learning and continue education from home, we’re left with a significant challenge. According to Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, an estimated 100,000 students need their own laptops to continue learning online and join their classmates. Without remote access, many students are unable to connect with virtual learning, assignments and other essential resources to stay on track with their education.
To ensure that no student is left without a fighting chance to obtain a proper education, it’s up to businesses and individuals throughout our communities to step up to help those in need during these unprecedented times. This is why the Arizona Technology Council is partnering with AZ StRUT (Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports Arizona’s technical education, to launch a donation drive to obtain laptops and chargers that can be refurbished and distributed to students.
“Our current need and focus is to get laptops to Title I students and their families to improve their education during this pandemic,” said AZ StRUT Executive Director Tom Mehlert. “Our dwindling supply of donated laptops has slowed our mission. But, with a significant number of donations, we can quickly ramp up our efforts and distribute them directly to students in need.”
Title I is the designation by the U.S. Department of Education for schools that receive supplemental funds to assist their large concentrations of low-income students in meeting state academic standards. Unfortunately, remote online learning is not an option for many Title I students in rural and underserved schools in Arizona. Students without access to technology will fall behind. We need to act immediately so that no student remains offline.
Devices being accepted for donation at this time are laptop computers and chargers. Other electronic devices will be accepted in the near future once mitigating steps have effectively flattened the curve of the pandemic outbreak.
Arizona businesses can follow this link to request an AZ StRUT representative to come by and retrieve up to 40 laptops and chargers. Individuals who have new or used laptops and chargers to donate can also drop them off at a Batteries Plus Bulbs store. Follow this link to find the nearest location.
As we all come together to fight COVID-19, I encourage you to think about those less fortunate than ourselves, as well as future generations of our great state. Please step up, contact AZ StRUT and join our cause.
Steve Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.
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