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]