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East High bringing the classroom to students at home during pandemic

East High School
East Lower School Principal Dr. Tanya Wilson Thevanesan prepares Chromebooks to be distributed to Lower School scholars on Wednesday.

School's out for students in districts nationwide in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

In Rochester, East High Lower School is taking steps to make sure 6th through 8th graders can do educational projects at home. On Wednesday, the school will be distributing Chromebooks for students and their families. Principal Tanya Wilson Thevanesan says the effort came about after discussions last week on what to do while students were on an extended break from the classroom.

“We're going to be out for an undetermined amount of time, and our kids need access. So we're going to on Wednesday deploy about 100.  We'll be ready for more in case there are more families that come,” she said. “But about a hundred Chromebooks so our kids can have access to their at-home resources that have been created by their teachers."

Wilson Thevanesan has a middle school child who attends a suburban district and has a tablet, which is used to complete assignments, talk to teachers, and further their education.  She says it didn't sit right with her that kids in grades 6-8 at East didn't have the same, so the school reached out to families to see if there is a need. 

East made appointments with about 100 families to come in Wednesday to pick up their devices. Superintendent Dr. Shaun Nelms said kids in other districts already have access to online learning, and this is one way to make sure East High Lower School students don't fall behind.

“And so we continue to talk about equity and access, and these laptops keep our kids competitive academically, and also provide some resources that, quite frankly, kids in other school settings already have,” he said.

Nelms says the devices not only enable students to engage academically, it gives families another opportunity to connect with the world, and the information that is being shared. He says school staff spent much of Monday wiping down the devices so they can be safely distributed to families.