NEW BERLIN – At a time when schools face so much uncertainty, the Unadilla Valley Central School is trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology for the coming year.
The school district's on the receiving end of more than $300,000 in state aid for classroom technology and connectivity – both of which will be essential in the months to come, say school officials.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll announce by today whether schools can allow in-person learning when students head back to school in September. UV submitted its reopening plan to state officials last Friday detailing how the district will handle a variety of scenarios, including in-person learning, online learning, or a combination of the two.
UV Superintendent Robert Mackey says money allocated through the state's $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act will serve a twofold purpose: first, it will enable the purchase of new laptops for teachers and kids in grades 3-12; and second, it will allow the school to broaden its wifi so that teachers and students can connect to the internet from outside the building.
The state imparted nearly $283,000 to UV for computer purchases and another $22,500 to build its internet connectivity.
“We know we need to have one-to-one devices for kids in pre-K to 12 instead of four through 12, so we knew we needed to make some purchases,” Mackey said. “We moved as quick as we could when the state said they were going to expedite these Smart Bond applications.”
Mackey pointed to successful trial runs with laptops for students in the spring, making it easier for them to type assignments and access the educational platforms that the district uses. UV isn't expecting new laptops to arrive until late October due to backlogged orders and high demand nationwide. However, the school's in a place where each student can have a device for at-home learning come September, he said, even if it's a desktop computer for now.