Free Laptops, Hotspots Available for Students in Need in Jacksonville
To help close the technology gap and eliminate the digital
divide in Jacksonville for students in need, the Duval County
Public School District is offering families the chance to
apply for free laptops and hotspots.
There are approximately 43,000 laptops and 10,000 hot spots
available to be loaned to students thanks to a federal grant
called the Emergency Communications Fund.
Because supplies are limited, and this is a one-time grant,
families will have to complete a survey to help determine their
eligibility. Eligibility is based on need, this effort is to
help decrease the technology gap and lower the digital divide
that is prevalent among families met with financial hardships,
socio-economic challenges and that qualify by completing the
A link to the survey is available in the parent’s FOCUS account
in Duval County Public Schools. Parents and students should be
aware of FOCUS because important school, district and community
information is there. The move to more online engagement, sharing
of resources, academic information, posting of grades is all
available in FOCUS and much more for parents and students.
The survey that needs to be completed is called the “Parent
Emergency Communications Fund Survey” that is opened from
Tuesday, April 5 through Tuesday, April 12 and parents need to
hurry to complete the survey.
Parents that are interested should make this a priority to apply
to equip their children with technology that can help elevate
their children’s and families technical knowledge and skills for
future technology careers and even as digital entrepreneurs and
What type of technology is available, may be one of the questions,
with the grant, the district purchased approximately 10,000 hotspots
and 43,000 Lenovo laptops. Every student will be supplied a copy of
Microsoft Office 365 for their laptop which is the same software
businesses are using today as productivity tools and is found in
How do I apply is the next question, the link to the survey is in
the parent’s FOCUS account and parents should check as soon as
possible to complete and submit the survey.
To get and account….
If parents do not have an account they should review the steps to
create a FOCUS account with Duval County Public Schools if they
don’t already have one https://dcps.duvalschools.org/focus
How is eligibility determined, may be another question, priority is
given to students and their families in need. Therefore, questions
include whether the student has access to a laptop or internet in
the home, what is the family’s combined annual income, and whether
the family receives public assistance.
Priority is also given to children in elementary school because both
middle and high school students are already assigned take home
laptops by the district, but these may have to be returned at a later
date either at the end of the school year or due to repair and/or
damage to computers students already have.
Everyone that is in need should apply to potentially take advantage
of this grant opportunty.
What is the timeline for laptop distribution to families, survey
applications will be collected between April 5 and April 12. The
district will review the results and determine laptop eligibility.
Email notifications will be sent to families who have qualified
during the week of April 25. Parents must make sure they
consistantly check their emails and even check their Spam
or Junk email folders.
A separate email will be sent to notify families when their
student’s device has been shipped to their school.
Will students be able to take home the laptops is a important
question and YES, once assigned a laptop, students can take
and keep their laptops at home. In this digital age students
have a priority that their connections to academic success
is with technology, research and even digital discovery of
information and resources.
Parents maybe wondering will students have to return
laptops/hotspots at the end of the year and the answer is NO.
Students will only return the laptops when they are no longer
enrolled in the district. This can include when they graduate
or if they transfer to another school district or a private school.
The opportunity to make connections with technology,
education and even researching future educational goals,
resources, grants, employment and higher education is
important. All this information is digital and no longer on
paper. Making digital skills a priority for today and future
This is why digital access is necessary and understanding
how computers work, perform and are a necessary tool
for everyone, especially students.
Check out the Duval County Public School web site for
more information to obtain a FOCUS Account https://dcps.duvalschools.org/focus and access to
potential free laptops and hotspots.
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