After the crazy month that was March, we started to get back in the groove of our workflow. We temporarily closed the workshop in mid-March and reflected on the nature, and role of our work in Society. The effects of the of school and public library closures has amplified the need for the service we provide across BC.
Our Executive Director, Mary-Em Waddington, spoke briefly about the digital divide and how COVID-19 highlights the technology gap present within BC classrooms on CBC and with the Conversation Lab, noting "This is reinforcing the whole reality that so many families don't have access to technology and don't have access to Wi Fi in their homes," These conversations and working with a Burnaby Task Force reinforced our work as essential service.
We remained closed until April 20th working though new safety protocols and redesigning the workshop for social distancing. Then we got back to work in earnest and sent out 102 free refurbished laptops to local non-profits Burnaby Neighbourhood House, Port Renfrew Elementary, and Burnaby Association For Community Inclusion. Our next critical challenge will be safely securing new donations to replenish the inventory we are distributing. While we don’t know when BC students will be returning to school, we do know the 27,000 devices loaned by districts will be recalled and those students will be without tech again.
When things start returning to normal, we hope that this will lead to serious discussions about access to technology in BC.
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