A majority of participants reported IT budget increases in two areas: curriculum software/subscriptions (62 percent) and cybersecurity (56 percent).
Respondents ranked cybersecurity as their top unmet technology need, with home access connectivity and interoperability ranking number two and three, respectively.
Almost three-quarters of participants (73 percent) are planning to request support from the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund for Wi-Fi hotspots.
71 percent of respondents anticipate on-site classrooms to return to a pre-pandemic normal for the 2021-22 school year, a stark contrast from last year’s survey results, in which only 7 percent of respondents expected this return.
To meet remote teaching and learning needs, 64 percent of respondents added technology to their classrooms, such as rotating cameras, classroom microphones and speakers, to increase the quality of remote learning in a simultaneous hybrid learning environment; 60 percent now provide a remote-only instruction option; and almost half expanded their cybersecurity initiatives.
The overwhelming majority (90 percent) of respondents said that the federal economic stimulus funding (CARES, CRRSA and ARP) was important to support remote learning or related IT initiatives in their districts during the pandemic.
“There is a marked shift in how school district IT leaders are preparing for this fall, compared to the back-to-school survey results from last year,” says Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “While the federal government delivered critical funding when school districts needed it most,” he adds, “we must now invest in cybersecurity and ensure sustainable, secure and equitable home broadband access for students and educators into the future.”