DC-area students get refurbished computers to close digital divide

For many D.C.-area schools, free gently used laptops jumpstarted many remote learning classes.

For 25 years, a federal government program called Computers for Learning has been giving away free computer equipment.

“Computers are expensive,” General Services Administration spokesman Richard Stebbins said.

Although most schools are back in-person, Stebbins said the requests from teachers and schools haven’t dropped off.

“There’s a constant demand for computers because it’s an indispensable element for today,” he said. “Schools have computer classes that are being taught at all levels.”

Last year, five schools in Maryland received computer equipment. And in 2019, one St. Mary’s County school received 23 of them.

For parents who can’t afford laptops, the program closes the digital gap spurred by the pandemic.

“If they can get computers for free, it sparks that learning and helps the next generation learn,” Stebbins said. “This program has far-reaching capability.”

If you would like to request computers for your school, you can visit computersforlearning.gov.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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