BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the new school year officially in full swing, it’s important to make sure every student has access to proper technology and devices for distance learning.

That’s exactly why on Friday some students in Baltimore City picked up new Chromebooks thanks to a partnership with Verizon’s innovative learning initiative.

This program was actually created before the pandemic, but teachers and parents say with the switch to virtual learning, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Bridging the digital divide is the goal of Verizon’s innovative learning initiative.

“I came to pick up our new laptops for school,” sixth-grader Kattery Magna Delacruz said.

Delacruz is just one of the students in Baltimore City Public Schools picking up one of the over 1,300 Chromebooks being distributed thanks to a partnership with the Verizon network.

Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School and four other schools in the city are a part of the program.

Johanna Mullaly is the Principal of Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School.

“This is a wonderful innovation for our students that’s going to level the playing ground for them in a global economy and a global learning situation,” Mullaly said.

Each Chromebook comes loaded with 10 gigabytes of wifi.

“It’s giving them access to skills that they need not just for assessments, but for life skills,” Mullaly added.

Providing students an immersive learning experience they can take on to high school and even college.

Delacruz said she’s thankful for programs like this to help her succeed academically.

“I hope it really helps me out with class because on the device I’m on [now], it doesn’t really help me too much,” she said.

And it doesn’t just stop this year. The five select schools in Baltimore City will be enrolled in Verizon’s innovative learning program for the next four years.

“I think it’s really going to set our children up for success,” Mullaly said.

Over the next few days, school staff will be distributing Chromebooks to students at select schools here in the city.

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.

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