On May 4, the Virgin Islands Department of Education (DOE) distributed 255 laptops and Mifi devices to eligible public-school students in need of the electronics to participate in online learning at home.
In the St. Thomas-St. John District, 135 of the laptops and Mifi devices were distributed to eligible students at all of the district’s schools (60 Mifi and 75 laptops). In the St. Croix District, 120 were issued to eligible high school and junior high school students (39 Mifi and 81 laptops).
Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin said, “Today was a very special day for all of us at the Department of Education as we were able to provide laptops and mobile internet devices to students who need these items the most. As we continue to navigate our response to COVID-19 and have begun taking real steps toward building a solid distance-learning infrastructure, we will be able to provide many more opportunities like this for all Virgin Islands’ students.”
The St. Croix District will continue distributions from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, May 5 to eligible students enrolled in the district’s K-6, K-8 and Alternative Education schools. All distributions will take place on the school campuses. Priority distribution is being given to students who indicated their need for the items in a survey DOE conducted in March. These are students who have earned less than the required 70% passing average for the first semester and/or third marking period. One Mifi device will be issued per household, and each eligible student will receive a laptop computer or tablet.
In order for students to be assigned the electronics, parents are required to complete paperwork accepting responsibility for the items, which are the property of the V.I. Department of Education. The electronics should be returned to the DOE on or before June 4. A detailed drop-off schedule will be announced at a later date.
Parents and students are reminded to wear a face mask or facial covering during pickup.