Anne Arundel school system to distribute Chromebooks to students starting Tuesday, works with Comcast to provide free Wi-Fi

Anne Arundel County Public Schools is simultaneously planning for reopening and extended closures for coronavirus, Superintendent George Arlotto said.

Arlotto gave updates on the school system’s work to continue educating and feeding students during a virtual town hall Saturday on County Executive Steuart Pittman’s Facebook page.


Schools will be closed until at least April 27, but Arlotto said staff and faculty are planning for both reopening and an extension of closures.

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus hit 3,125 in Maryland on Saturday, with the death toll rising to 53, state officials said. The number of confirmed cases in Anne Arundel County hit 289.


Starting Monday, all teachers will be in touch with students using their Google Classroom, Google Meets or Google Voice, Arlotto said.

Elementary teachers will have learning time in the morning and office hours in the afternoon, as middle and high school teachers will have office hours in the morning and learning time in the afternoon.

Students and teachers cannot gain access to the buildings to pick up belongings except for in emergency situations like retrieval of medication.

“Both the structure is important as is the flexibility as we are all adjusting to this new normal,” Arlotto said.

Students without devices and internet access will have more resources starting this week.

Schools are reimaging Chromebooks to be able to accept Wi-Fi, and 2,000 Chromebooks will be distributed to students on Tuesday, Arlotto said.

The school has about 4,000 requests for Chromebooks, Arlotto said. Requests will be filled first for people who have no devices and high school seniors who need a device to graduate.

Families who made requests will start receiving calls starting Saturday to pick Chromebooks up at one of 11 high schools and one middle school giving them out.


Another 2,000 Chromebooks should be ready for distribution by Wednesday, Arlotto said.

The system is also working to support students without internet access.

Breaking News Alerts

Breaking News Alerts

As it happens

Be informed of breaking news as it happens and notified about other don't-miss content with our free news alerts.

“This one is a little trickier for us as we are not able to provide internet access to students at home,” Arlotto said.

The system is working with Comcast, which is offering its Internet Essentials program free for 60 days. Comcast has also opened up Wi-Fi hotspots at businesses and public areas. All schools have opened up their Wi-Fi signals and are working so students can access them in close proximity to the buildings, Arlotto said.

Commencement ceremonies and proms are still on as of Saturday.

“If we were to make a decision today we would have to cancel them,” Arlotto said. “But we are not making those decisions now.”


The school year may be extended for the 10 days missed due to the pandemic, but no decision has been made, Arlotto said. The system requested the state superintendent to waive the 10 days, but if the waiver is not granted the school year may have to be extended.

“We’re going to take this one day at a time, so giving yourself the gift of grace and patience will go a long way,” Arlotto said.

Meal distribution hit a record as 11,600 students were served on Wednesday, Arlotto said. Meal distribution began on March 16 as school closed and the system has since served 120,000 people 359,000 meals at 60 sites across the county.