As courses transitioned online, COVID-19 exposed the digital divide with students who have access to reliable internet and computer access and students who do not.
To close this divide, Pierce College offers a program that distributes Lenovo Chromebooks to students who need a reliable laptop to fulfill their online courses.
“What we’re trying to do is… let you all know that we’re here for you, and we’re also adapting,” said Pierce College President Alexis S. Montevirgen.
Montevirgen said that late start classes were implemented to accommodate those without reliable computers to allow them enough time to settle in.
However, the laptop order of 14,886 Lenovo Chromebooks set to be delivered at the start of the Fall semester was delayed.
According to Pierce College Public Relations Manager Doreen Clay, the result is that LACCD switched to ordering 14,881 Surface Go laptops instead of a local vendor, but the delivery was also delayed.
Clay said while every equipment order is different, the district has been working all summer diligently to get the laptops to students, but COVID-19 has made it difficult to get orders in and timely deliveries made.
The Surface Go laptops are new additions for distribution, while Chromebooks are a returning item. Some of these items are “reconditioned,” while others are not.
Full time Pierce College student Einna Macavinta received a Dell Latitude 11 laptop last semester and said she felt the program helped her in her time of need when courses went online.
“I initially rented a laptop because I couldn’t afford one,” said Macavinta. “After saving up from work, I finally bought myself a new one.”
The laptop that was given to Macavinta from Pierce College helped her complete online courses until she was able to purchase one on her own.
Pierce Students who do not have reliable computer access at home can apply to this program through the application located in their student portals under Scholarships and Financial Aid, said Clay.
When the devices arrive, half will be given away and the remainder will be loaned to students depending on each student’s specific needs.
The goal of the laptop distribution program at Pierce College is to eliminate the gap between those with reliable computer access and those without reliable computer access.