Hutto ISD distributes Chromebooks to students for online learning

Hutto ISD recently moved to online lessons and to make sure all students could participate, the school district distributed 2,600 Chromebooks to students. This coming one week after Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order shutting down schools as a precaution against COVID-19.

“It has been super crazy. We just literally found out my husband is not working right now, I’m not working so it’s just kinda a weird
situation. We are blessed to have companies that are still going to pay us,” said Ashley Rios.

Rios has a little girl who is a kindergartner at Hutto ISD. On Friday, she picked up a laptop for her child to use for online learning.

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“It’s definitely going to help us because right now we’ve been doing it all on my phone, which isn’t bad, but it’s going to make everything a lot easier,” she said.

Hutto ISD announced they would be passing the Chromebooks out starting Thursday.

“A lot of families, they have computers at home. They have laptops, but now you have parents staying at home having to work. They need access to those devices so our kiddos still need something,” said Todd Robinson, Director of Communications at Hutto ISD.

On Thursday, Hutto ISD school officials distributed 1,800 Chromebooks.

On Friday, that number jumped to 2,600 Chromebooks.

“It’s so important for us to try to do whatever we can and we know it’s not normal and it’s not gonna be perfect, but whatever we can do to help our kids continue to learn,” said Robinson.

On both days, staff handed out sanitized laptops wearing masks and gloves.

“We want our staff to be protected from any exposure and likewise we want our parents and community to know when they’re driving up, that it’s a safe environment,” said Robinson.

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The plan is for these students to borrow these laptops until they’re back in school.

“This has been wonderful because they can stay on track with school,” said parent Stephanie McBride.

Hutto ISD says it is able to pass out these laptops to all students because a few years ago the school district started an initiative to
get a Chromebook for each student to use at school. School officials never expected those laptops to come in handy for a situation like this, but they’re glad they had it in place. Hutto ISD hopes to have their students back soon.

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“Our hope is we are gonna get them back before the school year ends and until that time we just keep taking it a week at a time,” said Robinson.

Hutto ISD plans to hold one more laptop pickup for parents. To find out when that'll be, follow the school’s Facebook page.

On March 19, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a public health disaster, the first in Texas since 1901. The executive orders, which took effect at midnight Friday, March 20 and goes through midnight on Friday, April 3, bring the state in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The public health disaster orders schools to be closed statewide until at least April 3. The disaster also orders a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus. Abbott's order also shuts down gyms and bars. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.


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