How Volusia is Meeting the Challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, the world was going about its regular schedule. For students and parents, that meant spring break.

And as the world pivoted, so did school districts, ramping up quickly and accessing their technological assets. The world had forever changed, and, for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year, classroom education would be online.

Now summer break has some and gone, but not so the virus. School districts across the country, such as Volusia County Public Schools, are gearing up for a new year, and new challenged.


“This school year is a little different (from years past), but we did have all of our students learning remote from spring break until the end of the last school year,” says Volusia County Schools Chief Information Technology Officer Clint Griffin. 

Griffin says the district is up for the challenge


“When that pivot in the spring happened, we basically got a survey that we sent out to see what students needed that technology and we were able to prepare devices and check out devices to the students who did not already have them in their households,” says Griffin. 

“We are having some challenges in sense we are not a one-to-one district, meaning there is one device per student, but there’s not too many districts that are that one-to-one, so we share that challenge.”

Another challenge was not just getting computers and tablets to students who needed them, but also making sure everyone who needed internet access had it.

“This district is a unique district because we do have rural areas and those rural areas have very little opportunities for internet. It’s not just families, but some teachers fit into that category as well,” Griffin says. 

“So we worked with several hotspot providers over the summer and we are offering that availability for a number of reasons, whether is is low income reasons because families can’t afford internet or because they are in a rural area and they can’t access internet at the speeds that they need.”

Hotspots, which are compact devices that provide WiFi through cellular networks to launch internet signals for devices such as iPads and MacBooks. They are often needed in more rural areas of the county where internet service is spotty or non-existent. 

Over the summer, Griffin and his team have also been working on upgrading the system’s infrastructure. 

“No one ever really realizes that work that goes on, but you have all the infrastructure and bandwidth and all the network in between that needs the upgrading due to the uptick (of added use),” he says. 

Griffin has also been expanding licenses across the district, now giving all students and teachers access to the learning system now that there is a greater demand for the technology. That includes uploading all resources such as textbooks. 

“Also this summer the school board approved purchase of an additional 33,000 devices for students and 2,500 devices for teachers, which will take us to a one-on-one district by the end of this school year,” he says.

That will put iPads in the hands of every pre-kindergarten student, and laptops in the hands of every third through twelfth grader. 


Griffin says Volusia schools have several options for students heading in to the new school year.

“Parents are really appreciative to have options, and the community in general is embracing it,” he says.

One option is for students to return to school in a traditional brick-and-mortar environment. 

“The other is Volusia Live,” notes Griffin. “The students can choose to stay attached to their school, but if they don’t feel comfortable coming in physically because of COVID they can stream online with a teacher from that school and keep that same bell schedule and do those same things as if they were in that same classroom in that same school until they deem they are comfortable to come back.”

A third option is Volusia Online, which was already established prior to the pandemic. The virtual school offers online learning programs. 

Griffin says of the approximate 60,000 students, there is about 60 percent registered for brick-and-mortar. Of that about 20 percent are choosing Volusia Live, and the other 20 percent picking Volusia Online. 


“For the most part teachers are excited, and they understand students need to be back to school. The students are eager to get back too. Whether it’s in the classroom or in some other educational engagement, its important for the psychological and educational piece.”