District Removes Computers from Classrooms

District Removes Computers from Classrooms

The Ottumwa Community School District will remove approximately 1,250 devices from classrooms on Thursday due to a device malfunction at Evans Middle School.

Yesterday, a Lenovo Chromebook’s webcam overheated and melted a section of the camera housing.

This was the second Lenovo device to malfunction this school year. Last month, the same building had a computer with smoke coming from it. That device was replaced. District leadership learned about both Lenovo incidents on Wednesday.

Further research yesterday led to the discovery that other schools across the country were having similar issues with the Lenovo product.  “We were concerned about the potential for fires or injuries,” said Superintendent Nicole Kooiker in a message to principals and staff.  “We are going to pull these devices out of classrooms immediately since safety is our number one concern.”

The district’s technology staff is renting a U-Haul today to move all devices out of school buildings and into the warehouse. They are also in communication with Lenovo as well as the vendor who sold the computers. The hope is that there is a quick resolution to this issue.

These computers were purchased over the past two years. “There are three generations of this device,” said Tyler Countney, district technology manager.

While concern for student safety led to the swift action, the Ottumwa staff is now trying to come up with a plan to continue instruction without access to this vital tool.  “Staff will be brainstorming resolutions for continued technology integration during their professional development time on Friday,” said Kooiker.