AUSTIN (KXAN) – As the school year approaches — one that will begin with students learning at home — a new concern is rising.
The Austin Independent School District estimates between two and four-thousand Chromebook laptops are unaccounted for.
According to the district, this isn’t uncommon at the end of the summer. The majority of these laptops belong to seniors and students who are no longer in the district.
Then a pandemic happened.
The district has fanned most of their laptops out to the around 80,000 A.I.S.D. students who will be learning from him for at least the first couple of weeks of the year, if not longer. The district has 50,600 laptops in their inventory or in the hands of students. Eighteen-thousand of those were passed out to students this past spring, while thousands of others were given to eighth through 12th graders.
Those students were told to hold onto the laptops over the summer. The district estimates that about 5,100 Chromebooks are still in their inventory.
If Austin ISD parents need a laptop for their child, they can call the Parent Support Line at (512) 414-9187.
The district plans to collect the missing laptops during curbside registration August 3-6 at any Austin ISD campus.
The district also has additional curbside return locations. You can get more information here.
Laptops in Central Texas school districts
Round Rock and Hays school districts are among the many Central Texas school districts to distribute devices at the start of the pandemic. Round Rock ISD issued more than 12,500 devices in the spring, while Hays CISD checked out 2,500 devices to students.
Round Rock is preparing for another year of schooling from home by adapting more than 40,000 campus devices for students. Hays CISD has an additional 4000 devices on order. They currently have 8,400 Chromebooks and 4,500 iPads in their inventory.
All three of those school districts are using a digital inventory system to track the devices they’ve distributed. Round Rock told KXAN that students are checking out the Chromebooks using their student IDs.
Austin and Round Rock plan to allow students to keep these laptops throughout the school year, even if students return to the classroom. If the school year returns to normal, Hays county students will leave their devices on campus.
This isn’t just a Central Texas problem
Across the nation, school districts handed out laptops at the start of the pandemic to millions of students. Many school districts are now struggling to recover these devices. Nearly 4,000 laptops that were distributed in Greenville, South Carolina, are currently missing, according to WSOC News.
In Florida, 2,600 laptops went missing in Brevard County. The school district there estimates the loss will cost the district $1.3 million.