By the end of the year, every student in Rochester Public Schools will have access to a digital device on which they can do schoolwork.

Rochester Public Schools just spent a little more than $1 million of federal COVID relief funds to buy 4,500 Chromebook laptop computers, although they will not be available to the students right away.

“These devices may not make it here until late October, early November just because of the backlog nationwide in Chromebooks,” said John Carlson, RPS finance director.

Depending on the school, anywhere from 30% to 50% of students are requesting devices from the district, according to information provided at the most recent school board meeting. Carlson said the district would need about 4,060 Chromebooks to provide one device for every student.

That means that once the district receives the new laptops, it should be a fully one-to-one district.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Until they arrive later in the fall, Superintendent Michael Muñoz said officials are making sure the district is able to provide at least one device for each household.

"I think we're able to provide at least one device per family at this time," Muñoz said. "We're also working on (figuring out) what's the best way to provide Internet access to those families who don't have that."

The purchase of the new devices cost $1,039,500, which the district paid using money it received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Besides the school district, the Rochester Area Youth Tech Foundation also works to provide laptop computers to students. The organization accepts donations for that purpose.