St. Maries Superintendent Alicia Holthaus wants to stay ahead of the coronavirus, that’s why she procured Google Chromebooks for every student in the district, thanks to funding from the CARES act.

The St. Maries School District has purchased roughly 500 laptops that will be available for students if conditions surrounding the coronavirus causes another school closure this fall.

The additional laptops will be added on top of the 513 Chromebooks that the district already owns. Ms. Holthaus said that the additional computers will ensure that every student and teacher will be able to have a Chromebook.

Ms. Holthaus was responsible for writing the grant and was awarded $130,000 to purchase the computers. She said that she may have to search for additional funding to purchase items the district did not think they would need to effectively teach lessons with the computers.

“We’ve come across a lot of issues where we figured that teachers wouldn’t be two feet from their Chromebooks at all times so now we are looking at purchasing webcams and lapel mics,” Ms. Holthaus said. “I’ve been working with Alex Barta of Timber Plus to try and acquire funds through the Innovia Foundation.”

“What’s really difficult is all of this is last minute so we have to work on the fly to figure this out and there are some unknown expenses,”Ms. Holthaus said.

Also Chromebooks have increased in price $75 since the beginning of the pandemic which has contributed to the district not having much room in their funding to purchase the additional equipment.

Ms. Holthaus said that the school may not see the new Chromebooks until December.

She said that even schools in Ada County have been put on the wait list for Chromebooks.

“With all that is going on there has been a high demand for Chromebooks,” Ms. Holthaus said. “We’ve been pushed back until December to receive them so I hope that we don’t have any issues between now and then.”

The computers will allow teachers to be able to deliver assignments to students using thumb drives. Thumb drives will feature recorded lessons and assignments.

For more information contact the St. Maries School District at 208-245-2579.

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