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OUSD students face issues as virtual classes begin

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Some 7,000 students in Oakland public schools were unable to log in for their first day of virtual classes Monday.

That’s in part because not all of them have received the free laptops and hotspot devices they need to connect.

The school district is now handing out temporary supplies to hold the students over until their permanent equipment arrives.

Asha Dunn’s computer and home WiFi in Oakland has been acting up again.

Bad timing because school started this week.

“I was having issues with my computer when we first went into this quarantine like last school year,” Dunn said.

Fortunately, she was able to stop by Oakland Technical High School with her mother Thursday. 

There — the Oakland Unified School District handed her working equipment to get her through her first few weeks of virtual education to open her senior year.

“It makes a big difference,” Nadya Aleem, Asha’s mom, said.

“Now, once I have this computer, I can always be present in the class and that’s what matters,” Dunn said.

An even more permanent solution is on the way. Though, a delivery backlog has caused a delay.

“We’re making the best of it,” OUSD Spokesperson John Sasaki said.

On Monday, some 7,000 of the school district’s 35,000 students were unable to log in for class due to a lack of equipment.

In the spring, a citywide campaign — called Oakland Undivided — raised about $12.5 million for the school district to purchase Chromebooks and portable hotspots for students to continue distance learning.

But Sasaki says despite ordering the gear back in June, distributors have struggled to get the product to schools on time.

“It’s supply lines, bottom line. Just ordering the computer itself, we’re not the only ones doing it,” Sasaki said. “We ordered 25,000 — that’s a big order anyway. But think about all of the other school districts across the country and all of the other organizations across the country who are doing it at exactly the same time.”

The loaner equipment students are receiving now is meant just to hold them over for the next few weeks until they receive their permanent Chromebooks and hotspots — equipment that they can keep forever.

“It’s going to help me a lot doing my work and stuff at home,” Ugo Chinyere said.

The school district will begin passing the new computers over the coming weeks.

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