Story By: Maddie Mason, Carina Leaman and Raleigh Norris

As students receive iPad cases this year, it’s clear they have never been cleaned. Screen covers are smudged with fingerprints and assorted crumbs. Sticker residue clings to the hard plastic where the new stickers don’t perfectly overlap.

But worst of all is the leftover sweat and skin particles in the cases’ rubber border, leaving the case slick and oily. That will never wash out well enough.

But after various complaints, students are now allowed to have their own cases instead of the district ones.

It is completely understandable why certain students would want their own cases.

A district case may well be on its way to breaking after the treatment it suffered from its previous owner. And if it does get damaged, according to the district iPad policy, the students must pay $36 to replace it.

This looming bill waits even though the student pays $40 for the mandatory insurance policy for the iPad itself.

The iPad insurance policy does protect the user from a huge bill if the iPad is indeed broken.

The price for a broken screen without the insurance is $200, a bent metal back would be $299.00, and the charger and adapter are $19.00 each.

These prices seem excessive, but they are very delicate pieces of technology. One drop could shatter a screen beyond compare–or it could do nothing.

That’s why the iPad case is vital to protecting and preserving the iPads for the next generation of users and why students bringing their own laptops is problematic.

A student may not want to buy a $40 or $50 case for an iPad they won’t even be able to keep over the summer. So instead, they buy a cheaper, decorative case instead of one that will provide the most protection.

This will lead to more damaged iPads, more claims to the district, and cause more problems than it solves.

There’s no problem with having the district reuse the cases and iPads from last year. Money is tight, and cases are expensive.

But there need to be some courtesies.

Before the iPads are passed out, they need to be cleaned. The apps and files on the iPad itself are wiped, but it seems like the iPads weren’t even touched over the summer.

Everything needs to be checked to make sure it’s functioning. Too many cases are already loose, the rubber border not fitting properly into the plastic shell. There’s a worry that this will affect how the iPad is protected.

But most importantly, the cases need to be disinfected. Those rubber and plastic shells have seen specks of people’s lunches, pounds of dead skin cells, and too much sweat to even want to think about.

The next time iPads are distributed, they need to be cleaned.

Just a simple spritz of water and wipe down would clean off anything left over on the iPad cases and make the student receiving the piece this year feel intensely better about having to reuse somebody’s old device.