Monday, April 13, 2020

Idaho Business for Education launches drive for computers, Internet access

Idaho Business for Education (IBE), a statewide association of more than 230 employers that advocate for and support education in Idaho, has launched two initiatives to help schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. IBE reached out to district administrators about how it might help ensure ongoing learning for students across the state. Two high-priority needs were identified:

• Accumulate technology devices such as laptop computers and tablets that can facilitate continued learning from home.
• Get Internet connectivity for these devices, ultimately within each students’ home. 

Regional IBE steering committees are working directly with their local school districts and communities to achieve these goals. The Eastern Idaho Committee represents roughly 24 districts from Blackfoot, north to Fremont, east to Teton, and west to Challis and Salmon. It is chaired By Aaron Johnson of Bateman-Hall. Committee members include Mike Klingler, Access Computers; Rae Moss and Amy Lientz, Idaho National Laboratory; and Park Price, retired president of Bank of Idaho. Their most pressing need right now is getting students connected to the Internet, especially those in geographically remote areas.

Here is how you can support this effort:

• Donate a device – Functioning laptops, tablets, iPhone and Android phones and wireless hotspots. Devices will be cleaned, hard drives wiped, and set up for student use.
• Volunteer your time – You can help with picking up and distributing devices to school districts. All volunteer activities will be planned with protocols in place for social distancing and personal health safety.
• ­Donate funds – Funds will help build Internet connectivity where it is needed. There will be two options for donating funds. 1. You can donate to IBE’s statewide fund, which will available soon or 2. choose to sponsor specific area projects as needed.

If you are interesting in supporting any of these efforts, please contact Aaron Johnson at aaron.johnson@bateman-hall.com for specific details on how to donate or volunteer.