Every student in Buford City Schools will get their own Chomebook when the 2020-2021 school year begins to help them with digital learning, the school system announced Wednesday.

Buford Superintendent Robert Downs announced the plan, called the “1:1 Initiative.” It is a response to feedback from the community about the digital learning that was done in the second half of the spring 2020 semester because of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.

“In March, when our schools had to abruptly close, we became keenly aware of the digital divide within our district,” Downs said. “In response to this need, our Curriculum and Technology Departments quickly expedited a plan to provide devices for each K-12 student in the fall. With the next several months being so uncertain, this helps ensure all students have equitable access for their education.”

The Chromebooks are expected to be distributed to students at the beginning of the school year. School system officials saying that the chances of spreading viruses to each will be reduced because they will not be sharing computers.

Not all Buford City Schools students will be able to take their Chromebooks home with them under those rules, however.

While the rules school systems are putting in place will allow middle and high school students to carry their computers between school and their homes, elementary school students will have to leave their Chromebooks in their classrooms, according to the district.

“A 1:1 device initiative along with the implementation of a new learning management system will provide unique, engaging, and interactive learning opportunities for Buford City Schools’ teachers and students,” school system Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Chafin said.

School system officials said the “1:1 initiative” is being partially funded with money from the CARES Act Relief Fund to ensure it’s feasible before the school year begins.

“Our technology team is working diligently to provide a seamless rollout for the 1:1 initiative,” Buford City Schools Director of Technology Jason Downs said. We are ensuring that the schools have the infrastructure in place to support over 5,000 devices. There will be onsite technical support in each school to expedite any issues so that students can quickly return to their digital learning.”

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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