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BUFORD — When schools were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it brought to light the technology divide.  Some families struggled to obtain technology devices for their children to complete their online assignments during that time.  This issue was a big concern that was mentioned in a recent parent survey that the Buford City Schools conducted.

On Wednesday, Dr. Robert Downs, Superintendent of Buford City Schools announced that the school system has listened to the concerns and starting at the beginning of this school year they will be starting a new 1:1 digital technology initiative.

“In March, when our schools had to abruptly close, we became keenly aware of the digital divide within our district,” Dr. Downs stated. “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.”

“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,” commented Dr. Amy Chafin, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

The Board of Education recently approved the purchase of new software that will enable the school system to be able to provide a more effective digital learning platform in the event that they are forced to close schools for a pandemic or a snow day.

Every student at BCS will be issued a Chromebook at the beginning of the school year.  For the K-5 students, they will keep their Chromebooks at school.  The older students in grades 6-12 will be allowed to take their Chromebooks back and forth between home and school in order to complete assignments. An added bonus of the 1:1 initiative is helping to cut down on the spread of viruses because students will not be sharing devices.  Partial funding for this initiative came to BCS in the way of a grant from the CARES Act Relief Fund which allowed the school system to get these devices purchased before the start of school.

Jason Downs, Director of Technology, stated, “Our technology team is working diligently to provide a seamless rollout for the 1:1 initiative. 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.”

Dr. Downs added, “I’d like to thank our Board of Education members for their support of this project. I am incredibly proud of our Curriculum and Technology Departments for creating a plan for this 1:1 initiative in such a short timeframe.”

— Staff Reports

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