Alamance Community College is providing 100 laptop computers to students in need of accessible technology to perform online classwork during the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered the campus for the duration of the spring 2020 semester.
The ACC Foundation used funds from an anonymous donor to purchase 50 laptops and 50 Chromebooks for students in degree and diploma-seeking curriculum programs, Academic and Career Readiness, and Occupational Extension.
The College transitioned all classes to online instruction beginning March 23. Some students have struggled to adapt because many do not have the same access to technology at home. Although ACC’s Skills Lab remained open at first, many students could not access the computers due to childcare needs or the requirement to self-quarantine. The college library had some devices to loan out, but it became clear that the number of students in need quickly outpaced the supply on hand.
Several administrators and directors quickly consulted about the issue: Carolyn Rhode, Executive Director of the ACC Foundation; Dr. Connie Wolfe, Vice President of Instruction; Jennifer Mock, Director of Academic and Career Readiness; Sheila Street, Director of the Learning Resources Center; and Jennifer L. Jones, Director of Distance Learning.
Said Rhode: “I consulted with a local family foundation, which wishes to remain anonymous, about making up to $75,000 available to purchase devices to help current students, especially those close to completion and licensure in fields such as healthcare, first responder, medical lab and critical infrastructure.”
Rhode explained that the family foundation representative had been focused on responding to students facing food insecurity, but realized that continuing to send trained workers into the field to help was also important.
The 100 laptops and Chromebooks arrived April 9. Priority is being given to students already qualified for aid and those nearing completion of a credential. Student requests can be made through deans and program directors in Workforce Development.
“We’re doing everything we can to provide access so that all of our students have the tools necessary to be successful,” said Dr. Wolfe. “The ACC Foundation is helping us provide equitable learning experiences for our students.”