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How Gainesville school system will spend pandemic aid money
Gainesville City School System superintendent Jeremy Williams speaks during a virtual board of education meeting on Monday, May 18. - photo by Nathan Berg

The Gainesville City School System approved a purchase of 4,000 chromebook devices during a board of education meeting Monday evening. The Chromebooks will be paid for using $1,146,000 provided to the school system through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, and will provide a safety net for the school system in case school from home is extended into the fall. The purchase will account for roughly half of GCSS’s allocation of funds from the CARES Act.

“We don’t know exactly what the fall may be,” said Jill Hobson, chief technology officer for GCSS. “But no matter what happens, we believe that our students will be in a better position if we are able to put more devices in the hands of kids.”

The 4,000 new devices will join 6,000 already owned by the school system.

Both Hobson and GCSS superintendent Jeremy Williams expressed uncertainty about the fall semester, stressing the importance of having adequate technology in case online learning is extended.  

Hobson said the Chromebooks should take around eight weeks to deliver. Williams said the decision on the order was being made now so the devices would be ready to go by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

“We knew that if we hesitated or waited on the devices, whatever happens in August or later, we would not be able to have the devices ready,” he said. “That's why we’re bringing it to you today to get moving on it as quickly as possible.”