Warwick buys 42 Chromebooks for resident use

  • Warwick purchased a collection of Chromebooks that residents can check out at the Warwick Free Public Library. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Ivan Ussach, librarian at the Warwick Free Public Library, holds one of the Chromebooks the town purchased to lend to residents. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 12/30/2020 3:17:13 PM
Modified: 12/30/2020 3:17:05 PM

WARWICK — With a new collection of 42 Chromebooks available to check out at the Warwick Free Public Library, town officials hope to improve remote learning and work-from-home life for residents.

Town Coordinator David Young announced the purchase of the laptops last week. In an email to residents, he said the Chromebooks will be available for students and those working from home who are short on devices or who currently depend on less reliable technology.

“We know that some families need equipment for virtual schooling, tele-med, communication or working from home,” Selectboard member Brian Snell said. “We want to make this equipment available immediately and we are doing so without any charge.”

Speaking Monday, Young said he was able to use some of the $68,770 the town received in May through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to buy the laptops. They were purchased in two orders, with the first order of 25 Chromebooks costing about $9,000. Other CARES Act funding paid for consulting work to further the town-owned broadband network.

The Chromebooks, which use a Google operating system rather than an Apple or Microsoft operating system, are available for check-out through the Warwick Free Public Library, as the library already has the system in place to record who is checking out the devices. Librarian Ivan Ussach said the first “handful” of computers have arrived, but the rest haven’t been delivered yet.

“I loaned out the first one this morning,” Ussach said on Monday.

Residents may contact Ussach to inquire about Chromebook availability by emailing warwick@cwmars.org or calling 978-544-7866 during library hours — Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays from 1 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

Snell said the laptops will be helpful to families in the Warwick Community Homeschool Cooperative that incorporates outdoor learning and extracurricular “enrichment” clubs at the former Warwick Community School, thus supporting collaborative education by parents.

“We want to make sure we continue to support education for Warwick residents in Warwick,” Snell said.

While his initial announcement addressed residents’ career work or students’ schoolwork, Young also recognized Warwick’s senior population, saying that elderly residents may be interested in using the Chromebooks to communicate with family members by video chat or other means.

“That would be deemed appropriate use, too,” he said.

Plus, Warwick Broadband Service will provide technical support for the Chromebooks, and may be reached at 413-676-9544. The laptops do not have wired ethernet ports, so they will require a wireless internet connection.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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