BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s hard for Buffalo Public Schools’ IT Department to prepare for the first day of school when over a quarter of the devices they gave out last year have not been returned yet.
The Chief Technology Officer for Buffalo Public Schools, Myra Burden, said the district gave out 31,000 laptops and iPads last school year, but they are still waiting for 8,000 to be returned.
“We are urging students and parents to return the devices as soon as possible,” Burden said. “We did have some students that kept their devices for summer school, but it could be some carryover from the end of the school year.”
Board of Education Member-At-Large, Larry Scott, said the IT Department needs the devices back as soon as possible to make sure they are prepared for the school year that starts on Wednesday.
“There’s a very thorough process our IT department goes through to sanitize them, reimage them, and make sure they are secure to go back to our students,” Scott said.
Scott said the district has been proud of its one-to-one technology program since 2017, and they want to keep it that way.
“We need those devices. Especially for kids that may have fallen behind a little bit or are struggling in some areas regardless of the pandemic,” Scott said. “The device provides programs supplemental to what they’re getting daily in the classroom."
Scott said while it’s important these devices get returned— he’s excited for the students to have time away from the screens.
“I’m okay if they start the year without that device or have a little time away from that device because they need that in-person interaction with their classmates,” Scott said.
Burden said the sooner the devices are returned, the better. If possible, she asks students to bring their laptops to 1515 South Park Avenue.
"We are cautiously optimistic that a lot of those devices will be returned when school reopens next week,” Burden said.
So, what happens if the devices are not returned?
“If they do not get returned, we will work through the possibility of trying to fill that gap,” Burden said.
Burden said the district ordered 14,000 new devices that she’s hoping will be distributed by the end of September.