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Hernando parents concerned about buying eLearning devices after district says they don't have enough

District says 700 devices were never returned
Posted at 6:21 AM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 07:49:08-04

SPRING HILL, Fla. — Some Hernando County parents are concerned about being able to purchase devices for eLearning for their children after district leaders said they don't have enough to provide.

Parents like Alexa Hasania, who has three kids in the Hernando County School District, are now facing the dilemma of either sending their kids back to brick-and-mortar classrooms or finding the cash for devices.

"We're seeing if we can somehow scrape up some money to get devices," she said. "But yeah, we have not decided yet (whether to do eLearning). I really do not want them in the brick-and-mortar school right now."

In a recent school board meeting, Hernando County School leaders said in the spring when schools first closed, the district handed out 4,000 devices. However, close to 700 devices were not returned.

Now, parents need to provide their own devices for students who choose to do a remote learning option.

"There just are not enough devices in the system right now in order to be able to accommodate that," Lisa Cropley, Executive Director of Student Support Programs for Hernando County Schools, told school board members in a presentation about the three options for families.

Hasania said she's been trying to shop around for the best deal on devices, but it's been challenging.

"You're kind of going paycheck to paycheck and that's a huge thing," she said. "I think the least expensive laptop I found was $170. And that doesn't include the software to put on there or anything else. I have three kids. So it's a huge burden."

In the school board meeting, the district said they are in the process of replacing those missing devices and they're still looking at the figures.

In the meantime, district leaders said they are completing the notices of obligations for the families who did not return their device from the spring.

Now, those families will be responsible for the debt of that device and those students will not be allowed to participate in some of the district's extracurricular activities until it is paid. That's according to district policy, school leaders said.

For children who do return to in-person classes, face coverings will be required. The school board opted to push the start of the school year to Aug. 31.

Hernando County parents have until July 27 at noon to decide how their children will return to school.

Click here to view the Hernando County School Reopening Plan.