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Carlsbad company JLab Audio donates 3,000 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," County Superintendent of Schools said.
Credit: KFMB
San Diego Unified School District

SAN DIEGO — Citing students' lack of equipment necessary to participate in distance learning during stay-at-home orders, local company JLab Audio has donated 3,000 headphones to San Diego County school districts, education officials announced Wednesday.

"One of the biggest challenges right now is making sure that all students have what they need to continue learning during this unprecedented time," County Superintendent of Schools Paul Gothold said. "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 will receive the headphones. The neon on-air 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," JLab CEO Win Cramer said. "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 Vallecitos Superintendent Maritza Koeppen. "In addition, headphones cost an average of $25 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."

Over the last month, San Diego County Office of Education has created a new website, with distance learning materials and resources to help students and families obtain computers and internet service.

The office'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 the Juvenile Court and Community Schools and charter schools that required printed learning materials, officials said.

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