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Need for student computers sparks community-wide effort

By ThisIsReno

Distance learning in the time of COVID-19 is a new experience for students and teachers across Washoe County, one that highlights the challenge many students have faced: getting schoolwork done without a computer. Nearly 16,000 area students do not have access to a computer at home, making getting and submitting assignments in the time of “shelter-at-home” an extra challenge.

The Education Alliance, a local non-profit that works to strengthen ties with local business and community partners to the school district, with working to collect new or gently used laptops to provide to these students. Major partners in the project are ITS Logistics and Reno Cigar Lions Club.

“Finding devices for our students who may not otherwise have the ability to connect with their teachers and classmates during this extremely difficult time allows them equitable access, and that is so important to our district,” said Dr. Kristen McNeill, Washoe County School District Interim Superintendent.

“Allowing students the opportunity to connect virtually hopefully lessens the stress for them and their parents/guardians in an otherwise atypical time in their academic lives. I have heard many stories from our teachers and principals about how excited students were to connect with them virtually and I would want that for every student who wants this type of experience,” she added.

Students at Stead Elementary School use new
computers purchased with funds saved through
solar energy use at the school. Image: Carla O’Day

ITS Logistics spearheaded the collection of laptops, donating several for Washoe County students, and now the company is asking Northern Nevadans to do the same.

“As a corporate member of the community, we felt that we had to do something to support less fortunate kids gain access to technology, enabling them to participate in the virtual learning process,” said Dan Allen, co-founder of ITS Logistics.

“We knew businesses in the community had old laptops that could be repurposed for students. We also were able to source inexpensive laptops for $250 each. We would like to challenge all businesses and individuals with the wherewithal to donate to drop off donations at ITS Logistics’ 555 Vista Boulevard office, or purchase one of our laptops for a student in need through the Education Alliance website. You will be providing significant support to the children in our community during these difficult times.”

ITS Logistics is collecting new or gently used laptops at its offices located at 555 Vista Blvd, Sparks, Monday-Friday from 11am to 2pm.

Reno Cigar Lions Club joined the effort to aid with distribution of those computers. Providing computers to students since 2006, according to club Emeritus President David Dehls, the group will use their established process to safely distribute donated laptops.

For more information visit Education Alliance online at  www.ed-alliance.org.

About the Reno Cigar Lion’s Club Computers 4 Kids Club

The Reno Cigar Lion’s Club, a volunteer-run registered nonprofit, gives education-focused computers to students in the Truckee Meadows, with training and computers given to over 5,000 students. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for their computers greater than ever before.

The organization accepts donations of cash or checks to buy computer parts, and accepts donations of computers. Once they receive a computer, they wipe the data from the drives, install a customized, educational version of the Linux operating system, and install software packages that help students create and develop content. They also provide tools to protect the privacy and security of the students and give them access to hundreds of thousand software applications, at no cost.

The organization accepts the following types of working computers for donation, with the following specifications:

  1. Non-Mac tower and desktop computers in working condition. The computers need to be running 64-Bit Processors by Intel or AMD. That would include Intel Core2, i3, i5, and i7. We can also use the AMD Athlon series of processors.  How do you know what kind of processor you have? Go to duckduckgo.com and enter the make and model number of your computer(s), and then type: 64-bit or 32-bit . You will get postings that will describe the processor type and if its 64 or 32-bit. We only accept 64-bit processors.
  1. USB computer keyboards (non-Mac), USB computer mice, computer power cables and VGA monitor cables.  If you are unsure what those look like, do a search on duckduckgo.com for each of those terms, and chose the images option.

Do not need/accept:

  1. No computers won’t power up
  2. No printers or scanners
  3. No CRT (tube) monitors
  4. No external hard drives
  5. No computer speakers

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