The county hopes to bring its student-to-device ratio to 1:1 in the future, Hatfield said. That's something that's already been accomplished at Buffalo High School, where the county school system was able to purchase laptops for every student in the new, state-of-the-art building.
Providing county-owned devices for the 10,000 students in the Putnam County school system isn't as feasible, Hatfield said.
"It's going to be a work in progress, and we're taking baby steps; understand that there are probably a lot of things to work out, but we think it's the only way -- if our intent is to provide a 1:1 ratio, that's the only way we can achieve it in any reasonable way," he said. "Even if we could reach a point where we could afford to buy every student a laptop, there is no way we could sustain it."
Teachers who have elected to participate in the program will have a small group of students allowed to use devices ranging from laptops and tablets to smartphones. Hatfield said student participation is voluntary, and kindergarten- through third-grade students will not be introduced to the program at this point.
According to Hodge, Datacom will provide support for the county during the transition, and will include a web-based filter that will bar access to certain websites and content for students during school.
"We also have [a] program called 'Computers for Kids,' which basically allows a child to bring in their own device and get the support they're used to from the school district," said Liam Cummings, president and CEO of Datacom. "They can put in a ticket and say, 'I have an error,' and we can provide them with a loaner device, take theirs, fix it and return it to them."
The next regular meeting of the Putnam County school board will be Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at the board's office in Winfield.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.