HES distributes Chromebooks to help with distance learning
By Lindsay Myers
On April 3 Hyattsville Elementary School (HES) distributed Chromebook laptops to a large portion of its student body, many of whom have struggled to adapt to online learning without devices of their own. Parents, at least a third of them clad in personal protective equipment, stood 6 feet apart from one another in three lines that snaked back across the school’s blacktop play yard. Many clutched the items they were told to bring with them by Prince George’s County Public Schools: their child’s report card, a personal ID and a personal pen for signing forms.
The scene was eerily quiet as the members of each line waited to be called forward to the makeshift distribution stations in the shadow of the building. A police officer directed foot traffic as parents trickled in and out of the yard. Almost no one stopped to talk as they hurried back to their vehicles.
The distribution event, just one of dozens around the county, went smoothly.
Meredith Muth, the president of the HES Parent Teacher Association, said that equipping students with proper devices goes a long way toward ensuring that all students have access to high quality public education during the pandemic.
“As most students in Hyattsville public schools come from low-income families, access to devices and the internet has been an enormous barrier to ensuring equity in distance learning. Distribution of Chromebooks is an enormous undertaking for this county. I am glad to see this happened today,” said Muth.
Parents also expressed their relief at receiving the Chromebooks. Kristen Wares, whose daughter Tess is a first-grader at HES, said that she purchased a tablet for her daughter to use for schoolwork, but that it had been difficult for her daughter to navigate the unfamiliar interface. She anticipates that Tess’s familiarity with the school-issued Chromebooks will help the school day run more smoothly.
Most importantly, Wares said, is that the teachers at HES have worked hard to ensure their students are still receiving the best education they can under the circumstances.
“I’m so impressed. Her teacher is amazing. They’re all going above and beyond ” said Wares.