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Lafayette schools technology help desk designed to close educational gap, digital divide

Lafayette Parish School System employees are fielding calls from students about how to log in to virtual learning, change their passwords and other technical issue that come up as they cope with remote instruction during COVID-19.

At least 30 teachers, librarians and technology staff serve as technical facilitators at the central office and schools across the district to answer the questions, with each school donating at least six hours a week, Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Gardner said Wednesday.

This allows for four employees at one time to be on hand to answer families' "requests for help" submitted online or by calling the Link & Learn technology help desk.

During the first week of school, a four-day week due to Labor Day, the help desk fielded nearly 1,000 requests, and 95% have been solved, said Ryan Domengeaux, CEO of the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation.

The foundation has been a major part of the Love Our Schools initiative, which partnered with the school system to create the help desk.

Love Our Schools, a program that began last school year with on-campus beautification projects and school staff meals, connects businesses and community leaders with schools that need support.

Through its Link and Learn partnership with the school system, the group tackled the digital divide that students can experience. In April, Lafayette Parish reported to the state Department of Education that about 20% of its students do not have access to internet at home.

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