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NOLA Public Schools Buys 10,000 Laptops, 5,000 Wireless Hotspots For Students Now Learning From Home

Travis Lux

NOLA Public Schools has bought 10,000 Chromebook laptops for its students to improve distance learning from their homes, the school district said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

By order of Gov. John Bel Edwards, all public schools are closed until at least April 13. Across the state, school districts are trying to facilitate distance learning for their students by providing physical work packets and links to online education resources.

But not every household has the same access to the internet, so NOLA Public Schools has taken several steps to provide online access to students at the schools it oversees. In addition to the laptops, the school district purchased 5,000 wireless hotspots last week.

In the statement, NOLA Public Schools said it is “working quickly to have these much-needed resources received, programmed and distributed in a timely manner so that continuous learning can remain equitable for NOLA Public School students.”

The school district has not yet said how it plans to distribute the hotspots and laptops to students.

Orleans Parish School Board President Ethan Ashley praised the latest purchase.

“The school board has worked quickly and efficiently to do as much as possible for our families during this fluid and trying time,” he said in a statement. “We are thrilled that we were able to obtain these supplies for our students to assist with distance learning, especially with the current high demand for electronic resources nationwide.” 

NOLA Public Schools also announced changes to the way grab-and-go meals will be distributed to families.

Since last week, families have been able to pick up grab-and-go meals from more than 40 school sites, five days per week, for breakfast and lunch.

On Tuesday, the school district announced schools would only distribute meals twice per week: on Mondays and Wednesdays. On Mondays, families can pick up two days of meals for each student, and on Wednesdays, families will be able to pick up three days of meals for students.

The school district said the change reflects an effort to “better serve and protect the health of students, families, food service providers, and staff at community feeding sites.”

The change goes into effect Wednesday this week, meaning schools will not be serving meals on Thursday or Friday, so families will need to pick up three days worth of food on Wednesday.

You can find a complete list of grab-and-go meal pick-up locations can be found here.

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As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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