EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As many school employees begin professional development training for the new academic year, districts must also gear up for remote instruction.

Several local districts have decided to go fully remote, while others' hybrid plans involve partial learning over the web.

One district is struggling to get the technology they ordered in on time for the school year.

According to the Easthampton Public School District, a large order of Chromebooks ordered for their fully remote instructional plan has been delayed, and now officials are working to get students access to computers and the internet.

Teaching a whole district of students through remote learning takes an awful lot of computers with access to the internet.

In districts across the state, there's an effort to ensure every child has a computer and the ability to get online once school begins.

Efforts are hitting a snag, however, in Easthampton. The school district will operate fully remote, but Superintendent Allison LeClair posted on the school's Facebook page: "This summer, we had 600 Chromebooks held at the U.S. border..."

Allison Leclair went on to say those Chromebooks won't come in until October. Until then, there will be one-to-one devices for students in grades 5-12.

LeClair said, "For the lower grades, we have some older machines (from the high school) that are being reformatted for any elementary students that need one to begin the school year."

Holyoke is another district going fully-remote this year tasked with getting each of their students connected online.

According to MassINC, a Massachusetts research organization, 29% of Holyoke households do not have access to the internet.

School officials have enacted a program where families can apply for free internet access, subsidized by the city for a whole year. When that year is over, families will be offered an affordable rate to continue that service. Families will also be able to purchase a computer for $150 to keep or borrow a device from the school. District officials are also offering free training for families on using the internet safely.

Western Mass News reached out to Holyoke school officials to see if they've had any difficulty getting their devices on time.

Easthampton officials are asking elementary families that do not need the devices to hold off on taking them so they can make the older devices spread further. They said when the new Chromebooks do come in, they'll swap them out.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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