Officials at Monroe Community College began handing out on Thursday the first of 200 laptop computers to students who need them to continue their college courses online. 

The need was identified after the college began to communicate with students by text last week after it suspended in-person classes and switched to online instruction to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 virus. 

“The vast majority of our students have a cell phone,” said John Delate, associate vice president of student services at MCC. But after dealing with questions of refunds and registration issues, the school learned that 200 students were unable to continue their classes because they didn’t have laptops. 

As for Internet access, while Spectrum has offered free WiFi for educational purposes, not all students are eligible, Delate said, so the college will be using its Dreamkeeper Fund, an emergency source of funding for students in need, to help pay for internet access. 

The college began handing out computers from MCC’s Brighton Campus without personal contact Thursday afternoon, and making other provisions to get computers into the hands of students. Delate said some machines would be mailed to students if they lack the ability to come to campus. 

Raul Santiago, a second-semester MCC student, prepares to leave campus with his new laptop. (Photo supplied by MCC)

Raul Santiago, a second-semester MCC student, prepares to leave campus with his new laptop. (Photo supplied by MCC)

Finding a supply of computers was the easier part of the operation, Delate said. “The challenge sometimes isn’t the supply, but the delivery. We do not tell the students until we have the computers in hand.” He said he expected a second delivery later on Thursday and additional supplies from the State University of New York system. 

The students really appreciate the help, Delate said. 

“When they’re leaving, the last thing they’re saying is very wholeheartedly, ‘Thank you very much. This is great.’”

dcarter@bridgetowermedia.com/ (585) 363-7275

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