By Don Ford

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — With the coronavirus forcing many California school districts to emphasize online learning, some students are facing a major challenge: they still don’t have computers.

The nonprofit company Tech Exchange is helping families in need get computers, internet access and computers skills so students can continue their education for free.

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“Beyond what the immediate need is here in Oakland, between Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Santa Clara County, we’re in need of 4,000 to 5,000 devices,” said Tech Exchange Director of Sales and Support Joel Pena.

Tech Exchange get all manner of high-quality decommissioned computers, tablets and desktops from companies upgrading to new devices. The devices are then re-imaged and certify that all data has been erased.

Some recently arrived brand new units from Sprint are going to Oakland High students.

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“These are the first batch of 300 that are going to 12 sites at the grab and go lunch that are set up here by OSD,”  said Pena.

Dwayne Butler’s son got his tablet early.

“His grades ain’t the best of grades, but this will help him to get ’em up. So, you know, it was a great opportunity for us to come down and be able to get one,” said Butler.

Tech Exchange has actually been around for 20 years. They say in the last 4 years alone, they have refurbished and delivered 10,000 devices to high school student all across the Bay Area. Now more than ever, the need is great.

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The only catch is the devices must be returned by the students when they graduate.