RICHMOND, Va. — As COVID-19 closes schools until the end of the year, Richmond Public Schools is working to get laptops and hot-spots distributed to the county’s 17,000 children without internet access.

Mary Gresham has been teaching in Richmond for the last 16 years. The mother of four is one of hundreds of teachers in Richmond that are now teaching remotely due to the pandemic.

“In the winter time, we kind of wish for snow days, just like the kids do but never have I ever seen anything like this, no,” Gresham said.

Governor Northam announced this week that all public schools in Virginia would be closed for the rest of the school year. And now, the challenge is to teach students online.

“At this point in the game, we need to try and keep our kids engaged, try to keep them moving forward and they need to be able to access some of the free online resources,” Gresham said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 17,000 kids under 18 in the Richmond area are without computers and internet access.

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said they’re working to lower those numbers and that the county has ordered around 10,000 laptops for students to use while out of school.

Gresham believes it’s all a good investment.

“Keep your heads up. If you do get access to a laptop, take advantage of that,” Gresham said. “Get online. Just do a few lessons here and there to keep your mind busy.”

Superintendent Kamras said all students are on track to graduate will and those still in the school system will pass to the next grade level.

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