BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Public Schools will begin handing out computers Monday to students who don’t have access to a computer at home so they can complete their schoolwork amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said they will be handing out around 15,000 Chromebooks to students. About half of Baltimore’s 80,000 students are considered low-income and may struggle with computer access.

“Priority will be given to our high school juniors and seniors,” schools CEO Sonja Santelises said. “We are ordering additional Chromebooks and devices wherever they are available.”

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: 

Monday marked the beginning of the fifth week in which Maryland students are learning from home due to the pandemic.

At a city council meeting Monday night, Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced a resolution that would provide more money to buy more computers.

“Now that the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on our communities and our schools, it is critically important that we not leave our children behind,” he said.

Cohen said 24,000 responses came in after the school district conducted a survey to find out how many and which students needed additional computer access at home.

Despite that figure, Cohen said he believes the need could be even higher.

“This is an equity issue, that it falls the hardest on our families that have the least and we in the city council are saying tonight that we need to make sure every young person in our city is able to learn online,” he said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett

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