Maryland’s Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) has come up with a way to provide IT support to students and staff while still keeping everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic – drive-up tech support.
At the start of the school year, CCPS equipped students and staff with laptops to enable distance and hybrid learning. Inevitably students, parents, and staff will need IT support. Prior to offering drive-up tech support, CCPS has created a tech support email for students and was offering help over the phone, but that wasn’t enough.
“We can’t do everything over the phone,” Gary Davis, CCPS CIO, told the Baltimore Sun.
In addition to promoting drive-up tech support, CCPS also debuted an online form that provides tips, suggestions, and links that can “hopefully answer some of the questions,” Davis said.
In terms of logistics, CCPS said in a statement that in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, those in need of IT support are required to remain in their cars. CCPS staff will come to the car to gather devices and necessary information. Additionally, CCPS said that masks are mandated whenever an individual is interacting with CCPS staff. Students and families will then be directed to a parking spot where they can wait for their repairs. If the repair is lengthy, they will be given a time to return.
“We hope that by offering this method of service, we will be able to serve those who we have not been able to assist remotely or who require service outside of our traditional support hours,” CCPS said.
During pilot runs of drive-up support, Davis said they saw a wide variety of support needs, including helping students reinstall programs or systems, as well as repair cracked monitors. Sometimes his staff can fix the device, but they do also swap out for new devices as needed. While they can offer fairly comprehensive IT support, Davis said they typically refer issues with specific assignments or submitting work digitally to the classroom teacher.