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Palomar College hands out nearly 350 free computers as classes move online

The college is transitioning to online classes starting March 30, but hundreds of students drove up or walked in Wednesday to receive a laptop.
Top view shot of woman sitting at table with laptop and coffee writing on notebook. Female making to do list on diary.

SAN DIEGO — As campus is shuttered and classes prepare to move online, Palomar College gave 344 students a computer and food to help during the quarantine, it announced Thursday.

The college is transitioning to online classes starting March 30, but hundreds of students drove up or walked in Wednesday to receive a laptop donated by the college, Darlene Shiley and nonprofit Computers2Kids.

According to college staff, so many cars lined up to get into the distribution point in the front parking lots of the college, that at one point, traffic backed up on West Mission Avenue. Even the Computers2Kids truck had difficulty getting to the college due to the number of students taking advantage of the computer giveaway.

"Our heartfelt thanks to Darlene Shiley and all of the staff who made it possible to provide this extraordinary student support," said Acting Superintendent/President Jack Kahn. "Even in the midst of a global health crisis, the Palomar community is pulling together to meet the needs of our students."

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College staff and volunteers from the Anita and Stan Maag Food & Nutrition Center were also on hand, distributing free food to students in need of nutritional assistance. The center has been serving students continuously as the COVID-19 outbreak developed, while observing the protocols of social distancing.

"It was truly humbling and heartwarming to witness this display of generosity and solidarity during such challenging times for our students, staff and community," said Stacy Rungaitis, executive director for the Palomar College Foundation. "We owe special gratitude to Darlene Shiley for making it possible to put these computers into the hands of students who are really going to need them to continue their education."

The donation of emergency funding for student computers also established the Darlene Shiley Challenge Emergency Fund Campaign, administered by the Palomar College Foundation. Those who wish to participate in the challenge in support of Palomar's students can find information on the Palomar College Foundation website.

View all coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19 

NEWS 8 joined forces with The San Diego Foundation to raise IMMEDIATE, EMERGENCY FUNDS for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Here is how you can help. 


According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

  • Stay home when you are sick. 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask. The CDC says the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low. 

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