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 County Students Receive Headphones from Local Company, JLab Audio, to Help With Distance Learning

At a time when many students are lacking the equipment necessary to successfully participate in distance learning while at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, local company JLab Audio has answered the need and donated 3,000 pairs of its neon on-air headphones to San Diego County students. 

“One of the biggest challenges right now is making sure that all students have what they need to continue learning during this unprecedented time,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “We are grateful to JLab Audio for providing headphones that will reduce distractions and help students be able to focus better on the content they are consuming.”

Students in the South Bay Union and Vallecitos school districts, the King-Chavez Neighborhood of Schools, as well as at the San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS), will receive the headphones. The donated headphones are a variant of the company’s top-selling line.

“I was watching the Governor’s address a few weeks ago and he thanked Google for stepping up with Chromebooks and asked other companies to step up too,” said JLab CEO Win Cramer. “As I watched my 14-year-old put on headphones and use her Chromebook for her 8th grade classes, I realized we have a way to help. That moment sparked the idea to donate what we could.

“As we all try to learn how to stay at home and manage school and work together, I know how distracting it can be to try and learn while overhearing what’s going on around you,” Cramer said. “I think everyone deserves a personal space to learn and we hope this gesture at least helps a little bit in that regard.”

Headphones were delivered to each district and distributed to students in mid-April. Although recipients of the headphones live in all areas of the county, the students have similar needs the headphones are helping to address. 

“At Vallecitos, several of our families have multiple students enrolled with us, and many do not have designated learning spaces in the home. Providing headphones to students supports independent learning and focus,” said Superintendent Maritza Koeppen. “In addition, headphones cost an average of $25 dollars or more. In homes with more than one student being home-schooled, the cost is upwards of $50 to $75, which is cost-prohibitive and a struggle for many during this crisis.”

For JCCS, Executive Director Tracy Thompson said “it’s all about providing students with access to resources and technology, and removing the barriers that may prevent students from participating in distance learning. The headphones are part of this effort,” he said.

Connecting with local businesses to help address students’ technology needs is one of the many ways SDCOE is working to get students the resources they need to learn at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Over the last month, SDCOE has created a new website full of distance learning materials, and resources to help students and families obtain computers and internet service. SDCOE’s IT team has helped connect students in rural parts of San Diego County with devices, and the print shop produced more than 8,000 distance learning packets for students in SDCOE’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools and charter schools that required printed learning materials. 

Pictured: Students who attend schools in the Vallecitos School District.