Norfolk Public Schools begin mobile device distribution to students in need


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Public Schools announced that beginning April 20, the city’s five public high schools will begin distributing mobile devices to students who have expressed a need for technology.

The Acting Superintendent of Academic Affairs Mike Cataldo says this is in an effort to bridge the digital divide that impacts students from lower-income families or backgrounds.

“It’s important for us that students do get the best experience that they can get and that they really have access, that is really what our big push is,” he said.

Among the devices are Google Chromebooks, laptops, and iPads. In May, the school plans to distribute wireless hotspots to students who do not have internet access and until then, three Norfolk schools have opened wireless signals that extend to the school parking areas.

All NPS devices connect automatically to the NPS WiFi from those locations.

Not all schools in the district will distribute at the same time. It starts on Monday going by school and then by class level. Cataldo said students and families have been contacted and are ready to pick up the devices.

“It really should be a very quick process by having them in cars, we are going to maintain the social distance, and we are going to make sure all the devices that we have that have been in the school, have been thoroughly wiped down and cleaned,” he said.

The planned device distribution schedule is as follows:

“Norfolk Public Schools is committed to making inroads with addressing the challenges associated with bridging the digital divide among its student population,” according to school officials.

Cataldo said this is new for everyone, but it is setting them on a successful path they had already planned.

“We’re probably going to be seeing a lot more of computer use in education from this point forward based on what’s happened in the last couple of months,” he said.

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