All Youngstown students will begin school year with new technology, internet access

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Students in the Youngstown City School District will begin the school year at home

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Monday would have been the first day of school in the Youngstown City School District. But, it was moved back eight days so the district could distribute new devices, which are a vital part of the home learning plan.

Jaleyna and Tamia Allen are excited to start school. Tamia begins fourth grade while Jaleyna heads to kindergarten. They were picking up devices at Volney Rogers on Monday since students will start the school year at home.

“I’m a little excited. I’m a little frustrated but I think after a couple days we’ll get the hang of it,” said Latoya Allen, of Youngstown.

Younger students through second grade are getting iPads while older students are getting Chromebooks.

“I had to tell them they can’t use it for fun, it’s for school,” Latoya said.

The devices were ordered in May and are a vital part of the learning plan, with Youngstown students starting at home for their safety. The district is providing a device for each and every scholar.

“We’re still here. We’re going to be teaching. We’re teaching live sessions throughout the day, so they’re not expected to be the teachers. We just need their support,” said Volney Rogers Principal Kelly Weeks.

Adding the technology will be challenging. The 5,500 devices were paid for with CARES Act funding.

Classes are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are set aside for student enrichment.

“We don’t want our scholars in front of the computer six hours a day, five days a week. That’s too much. It’s too much, so this is a way for us to break away and still have the opportunities for our PE teachers, our art teachers, our music teachers to have lessons as well,” said Youngstown Schools CEO Justin Jennings.

Students get to keep the devices, and when class returns to school, they’ll still be used in education.

Parents may have some apprehension with the technology, but seem to welcome how their students will use the devices.

“I can’t wait to watch them, see how they’ll do,” Latoya said.

The Youngstown Foundation and the Youngstown Rotary are making internet access available to families that need it. It could literally end snow days because learning can continue at home with these devices and that internet access.

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