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Concerns over long hot lines for Baltimore School tech pick up

Posted at 9:19 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 07:24:35-04

BALTIMORE — COVID-19 is having a trickle down effect on so many things, and the heat just adds one more problem.

The hot summer days are making the free device pick ups for families in the Baltimore City School District more difficult.

A local health advocate was out at school headquarters Thursday and was appalled that people were standing in line for hours in the heat.

Another one is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday again at school headquarters on North Avenue.

The school district has been working hard to get laptops and tablets for families.

The digital divide is a huge hurdle in ensuring a quality education for Baltimore City's young people.

Erica Hamlett, a community Health Worker said the fact that families are in need is not the biggest issue.

”The way you assist them when they are in need. The way you treat people when they are in need speaks to you and to them.”

BCPS is providing laptops and tablets for students as they prepare to start out the year virtually.

Last week they sent out A flyer inviting families to pick up devices on Tuesdays and Thursdays from

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hamlett went with her sister to help get devices for her sisters children on Thursday.

After she saw the long lines of people she decided to take to Facebook Live and left to buy 3 cases of water to give to people that were waiting.

“You were requiring families to stand outside in the heat and you didn’t think that you should provide tents or water for these people? You didn’t make any provisions beforehand to let them know exactly how this was going to work. The flyer didn’t say anything about standing outside. People were assuming they were going to be coming in the building picking up the devices and leaving.”

A spokesperson for the the school district got back to Hamlett on Friday saying they will address her concerns.

“There was some elderly people, there was some pregnant women,” Hamlett said. “They were holding their place letting them go and sit on the wall and standing in line for them.”

In the meantime she’s frustrated and also wants clarity on why the event ended at 2 when it was supposed to end at 6.

“It is hot outside it is July. Some people have to bring their children. Some people are disabled. Some people’s guardians are disabled and I’m not shocked but it’s just still disgusting.”

We reached out to a spokesperson from the district Monday night to see if there will be anything put in place to combat the heat Tuesday —we’re waiting on a response.

Hamlett plans on being out there tomorrow to see what changes are made.