Digital device distribution begins for distance learning

Travis Whitehead/Valley Morning Star Bowie Elementary parents pick up digital devices in preparation for online instruction. The school district will spend the first four weeks of school through distance learning, beginning Sept. 8.

HARLINGEN — Ashley Acevedo had just arrived to pick up an iPad for her daughter.

“ I don’t mind,” said Acevedo in the parking lot of Bowie Elementary where her daughter attends third grade. “It’s for my daughter’s education, so she can do it online,” she said.

Bowie Elementary had called Acevedo and other parents to pick up digital devices at a specific time Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for online instruction. The Harlingen school district will spend the first four weeks of school through distance learning, beginning Sept. 8.

Administrators at all campuses in the district are calling parents to pick up iPads, Chromebooks or laptops for their children.

“ Today we are doing our first round of device distribution of iPads to our pre-K three year olds through fifth grade,” Bowie Principal Jaymie Galan said Wednesday. “Today we are giving about 200 devices.”

Parents indicate need for devices while registering their children online, Galan said. Once parents identify they need devices, the district sends them emails.

“ Once they open up the email, the link will be there and that’s the orientation video for our device distribution,” Galan said.

OK, so in the new world of virtual learning, certainly glitches will arise. What happens if parents don’t receive the email?

“ Today we have device distribution so they’ll drive up, they’ll let us know, ‘Yes, they’ve registered,’ so they can utilize our ‘Park and Learn,’” Galan explained. “They can access orientation video and the acknowledgment form through our QR Code.”

Park and Learn is a new system developed in the time of COVID-19 to accommodate families who don’t have Internet access at home.

“ We’re really pushing our online registration because we want to account for all of our students,” Galan said. “We have parents that say, ‘We don’t have Wi-Fi at home.’ OK, well, just come by the campus, park at our designated areas and you can register online and we’re here to assist them.”

Parents and students can also use the Park and Learn option at Bowie and other campuses to log-on and download class assignments.

twhitehead@valleystar.com