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Lawrence Township uses federal CARES Act money to buy new technology for virtual learning

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — Lawrence Township is adding $1 million in new technology for virtual learning by using federal CARES Act money.

The district has 16,000 students. Of those, more than 5,000 have opted for full virtual learning.

A handful of new technology devices have been purchased for all students. Those include Chromebooks and iPads, mostly for younger students. Also purchased were WIFI hot spots for families without an internet connection so students are able to do school work from home.

Before the pandemic, the district wrote a grant to get webcams for each classroom. They were awarded that grant and now have them for every teacher.

The district says it’s been a challenge explaining and understanding what school should “be.”

“School is moving in this direction and has moved in that direction, the same way for over 100 years,” Lawrence Township assistant director for Workforce Readiness Kris McAloon said. “This global pandemic is causing disruption in how that moves. Just like any other industry, our organization has had to really reflect on how can we better situate ourselves to be responsive quickly to change.”

As it stands right now, teachers are coming into the building every day whether they are teaching virtually or live. The district says they can provide the best technical support there at the building for virtual learning to take place. Teachers will have access to lots of different technology that the district says they can’t replicate at their home.

Students kindergarten through 6th grade have the option of virtual learning or live instruction every day. Grades 7 through 12 are on a hybrid model. Parents have a two-week grace period once school starts to change their decision.