Southwick Regional schools ready for tech needs

SOUTHWICK – Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District Technology Specialist Benjamin Taglieri said while there have been some glitches, most technology needs should be met by, or shortly after, students start classes Sept. 15.

Internet access at home and computers are the biggest needs Taglieri is trying to meet.

“At home, based on survey results, we have 53 student who indicated they need some help,” Taglieri said, adding that there are families with multiple students so it is not 53 different homes.

“There are families in Granville and Tolland who do not have access to broadband but we are building hotspots,” he said.

For families who do not have internet access because of financial constraints, the district has partnered with Comcast to help provide internet based on eligibility.

There are 13 hotspots that Taglieri is creating for families. The biggest issue is providing everyone with a computer.

“The device needs are significant,” he said.

In the spring, Taglieri said they began thinking ahead to fall.

“We decided to accelerate our 1:1 program, which was originally a four-year plan,” he said.

Orders were placed but due to high demand and factory shutdowns, the orders are delayed.

Taglieri said 400 13-inch Toshiba laptops should arrive and be ready shortly after school starts. An order of 600 11.6-inch touch laptops are expected in October, and 50 ipads for use in PreK and grade 1 should arrive in time for the start of school.

The district currently has 450 laptops.

“This is every laptop I could scrounge up around the district,” Taglieri said.

There are an additional 180 that are older models used in school only on carts, 14 ipads for PreK and grade 1 and 200 desktop computers.

When asked what would happen if schools had to pivot to fully remote learning before the orders arrive, Taglieri said they have a plan.

“The out of box thinking is that we could use the all-in-one desktops,” he said.

Taglieri said some of those desktops could be distributed now to students who elected to be fully remote.

Taglieri said smaller needs he is working on include headsets for students in grades 9-12 with microphones and noise canceling capabilities. He said that they would be shared and disinfected in between use in school so if any families can supply their own it would cut down on the time it takes to disinfect.

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