Students forced to pay laptop fee

A couple of years ago, Fairfax County began giving out laptops for students’ personal use. This has made it easier for students to do assignments at home and better connect with teachers and classmates.

Having a laptop during the pandemic has made a major impact on students joining virtual sessions. Students at Annandale started to receive laptops through a grant called EBackpack which about 5 schools were a part of. This guaranteed laptops to be given to students at Annandale High school and other participating schools.

In early 2019, Fairfax County Public Schools put out a notice that students in 6th through 12th grade would be charged a laptop fee of $50. This is called the FCPSon technology fee. This year in August a notice went out to parents on what actions will be taken in 2020 in regards to the fee.

This grant would guarantee that all students in Fairfax County will receive a laptop. If there were any accidental destruction to the laptop the fee will cover it. However, If damages were repeatedly made or the laptop is lost, students would have to pay a fee of $490.

The fee is $50 for all students but, if you are eligible for free lunch the fee is waived. All students who apply for reduced meals will get a technology fee of only $25.

Many students were concerned due to rumors that there will still be a tech fee that will have to be paid. Those rumors are not true. Due to the pandemic, the fee has been waived by the school board not only for students with free and reduced lunches but for everyone attending Fairfax County Public Schools.

Some students may still be receiving the email for the fee. “There are many students who didn’t pay the technology fee last year which would mean that they will have to pay the fee this year,” Finance Technician Laura Mclean said.

There have been a lot of questions about the consequences taken when an obligation is not paid. “All obligations have to be cleared either by returning the item or paying the fee of the replacement cost of that item before you can participate in three things,” Mclean said. “One is homecoming dance, one is prom, and the other is the graduation ceremony.”

Many students are completely fine with paying the fee and believe it is a reasonable price.“I feel like $50 is a good deal since the school is paying for every student,” senior Zariyah Brown said. “I think that it’s a even better deal that we don’t have to pay this year because everyone is adjusting to the pandemic.”

Although some think that the fee is not such a bad idea, many complain that they should not be paying for a laptop because they believe it is not reasonable. “I understand that laptops are expensive to distribute among students, but $50 could be the difference of groceries for one week,” junior Lauryn Mills said.

Since the fee has been waived this year by the school board, students are relieved that they will not have to pay the technology fee. This year laptops are most needed because of virtual learning. Having a laptop will increase skills like indepently solving problems, collaborating with others, creating their own work and much more.