In many places across the United States, school has begun, with much of that schooling actually remote learning. We’ve found out we have a big problem: There are not enough computers for every student stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an AP investigation, America is some5 million laptops shortof what we need.
Launched in August, Ramsey County is partnering with Tech Discounts and our recycling arm, Tech Dump, along with Literacy Minnesota to collect materials for Workforce TechPaks distributed to people experiencing unemployment or underemployment due to COVID-19.
We are committed to making sure the processes of shopping at Tech Discounts remains safe for our staff and customers. To that end, we are limiting the number of parties in the store at one time to allow for adequate social distancing. All staff will be wearing approved masks and customers are encouraged to do so as well.
Before we share a few thoughts, we want to make it clear we stand with our community as we mourn and seek justice for George Floyd. Black Lives Matter and criminal justice reform is long overdue, and broad institutional change is needed to address systemic racism and improve the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) members of our community.
Last month, a Minnesota company called Tech Discounts received an email from a man in California. He had been trying to purchase 100 Chromebooks to donate to a nonprofit, but because of supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he hadn’t been able to find a seller. He had initially hoped to buy the computers new, but when he learned about Tech Discounts, an electronics refurbisher based in St. Paul, on an online forum, he decided to give the company a try. Within about two weeks, Tech Discounts filled the order and shipped him 100 refurbished Chromebooks — used devices that have been repaired and restored to good working order.