The Mason County Eastern District Board of Education approved the purchase of 100 Chromebooks and 100 tablets at its regular meeting Monday evening.
The Chromebooks cost $29,000 and the tablets cost $14,000.
The tablets, which don’t require internet access and will be used by younger students, and the Chromebooks were purchased with funds from the CARES Act. The school can use CARES Act funds for personal protective equipment, technology and other purchases related to coronavirus relief.
“Whether they are fully remote or partially remote, they will use (the computers and tablets) for class... so they will be familiar with using them,” said Superintendent Paul Shoup said. “(The tablets) eliminate that connectivity issue.”
Much of the evening was dedicated to discussing the survey MCE sent to parents asking for feedback about returning to school in September.
“We are surveying parents. We’re getting enough data. We know what we feel is the best way to educate kids, but it isn’t just about educating, it also needs to be the best way we can safely educate kids,” he said. “There are a lot of factors going into their decisions. We wanted parental input.”
Some questions on the survey address the three options students might have for school — fully remote, face-to-face five days a week or a hybrid of face-to-face and remote learning.
Shoup said there was a surprising amount of parents who said they planned on their child participating in fully remote learning.
“Twenty-two percent said hybrid and 23 percent said fully remote,” he said.
Just over half of the parents who responded answered they intended to send their child five days a week, Shoup said.
“The nature of the comments that we’ve received so far are very thoughtful,” said K-12 Principal Mark Forner.
The survey is still open for parents who want to submit their responses.
The board moved up its next meeting date to Aug. 10 so it can review and approve the school’s return-to-school plan before the state’s required submission date on Aug. 15.
The school will work on parts of the return to school plan while parents are still completing the survey, Shoup said.
“There are parts we can put in place no matter which results (the survey) shows,” he said.
The board decided it will continue to meet the third Monday of each month, with the exception of the upcoming August 10 meeting.
It also approved the $62,800 purchase of a bus on Monday evening. The funds come from the capital fund project, which is set aside specifically for bus purchases.
MCE received a grant in partnership with the District Health Department No. 10 this spring to add an adolescent health center to the school, but with the revenue shortfalls created by the coronavirus pandemic, the state decided to suspended the funding for this year.
“The grant has been suspended so we won’t have the clinic to start the school year,” Shoup told the board. “We are waiting to see if they will just suspend it and when funding comes in we won’t have to go to the bottom of the list and reapply.”
Shoup told the Daily News the specifications are ready and all they need is the funding to start construction on the rooms that will house the clinic.