Students In Virginia Are Getting Their School Library Books Delivered By Drone

sarawuth702/iStock via Getty Images
sarawuth702/iStock via Getty Images

Libraries and classrooms may be closed, but one school librarian has found a way to get books to her students while they're stuck at home. As The Washington Post reports, Virginia's Montgomery County public school district is sending kids their summer reading via drones.

Kelly Passek, a librarian at Blacksburg Middle School, has been campaigning for drone deliveries in her district since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia is one of the few places where Google's drone company Wing has permission from the FAA to make commercial deliveries. Wing's drones weigh 10 pounds each and can deliver packages weighing up to 3 pounds at a speed of 70 mph.

Passek started using Wing for personal deliveries in the fall of 2019 and immediately saw how much her school could benefit from the service. When schools closed in March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the need to get resources to students quickly and safely became a pressing issue.

During the last few months, Montgomery County school buses have delivered books and meals to students learning remotely. Classes have ended, but with public libraries still closed, the district will use drones to continue the book deliveries. If they live in Wing's Christiansburg delivery zone, kids can request the books they'd like to read via a Google Doc. Passek will then look for the book in the school district's libraries, and if she finds it, she'll box it and bring it to Wing's delivery facility.

The drone deliveries are fast and contactless, and unlike books from brick-and-mortar libraries, they don't come with strict due dates. Instead, students will be able to return their library books when school resumes in the fall.

[h/t The Washington Post]

Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

The Oldest Schools in Each Country

Schools across the globe have been around for centuries.
Schools across the globe have been around for centuries.
Online Schools Report

There's something about a school or university with a long history that amplifies its reputation. Well-established institutions of higher learning feel like they have centuries of information to impart—and sometimes, they do.

The online university consultants at Online Schools Report recently compiled data looking at the oldest schools and universities still in operation in every country. You might be surprised how far back some of these schools go. (Click on the maps to see them in full size.)



The oldest is Shishi High School in China, which was established around 141 BCE. England’s King’s School Canterbury opened in 597 AD. Tunisia’s Université Zitouna existed in 737 AD, while Germany’s Gymnasium Paulinum debuted in 797 AD.

Overall, Europe has 19 schools that are more than 500 years old and Africa has four universities that are over 1000 years old.


In North America, the Collegiate School in New York opened its doors in 1638, when New York was still known as New Amsterdam. (The name of the state changed in 1664.)


In Europe, the University of Bologna, which was established in 1088, might have been the first to use universitas, or university, to refer to teachers and scholars.


In Africa, there’s been some debate over whether the Université Zitouna is the world’s oldest university, but only because it was reformed and renamed in the 20th century, interrupting the concept of oldest continuously operating institution.

To view maps for South America and Asia, head over to Online Schools Report.