The Palm Springs School District is one of many low-income school districts in California that struggled with the transition from in-person to remote learning. I was commissioned by USC Alumni magazine to document the Palm Springs School District's "tech depot" day before the start of the 2020-21 school year, where the school administration handed out laptops and wi-fi tools to kids who had no working technology at home. It was a drive-up event due to Covid precautions; even the cars were "socially distanced."
I grew up in the California desert and felt a jolt of recognition with this landscape -- arid, hot, isolated -- an uncomfortable atmosphere that only seemed to be magnified in the wake of the pandemic lockdown. Outside of the tech depot, the Palm Springs area looked like a ghost town. The only signs of life were the flashing school signs, whose messages underscored the economic precarity of the region.