More Than 21,000 Free iPads Will Be Given To Students
The Ontario government has announced that it will be distributing iPads with free wireless data plans to students who are currently not able to access the province’s Learn at Home portal, as schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at Queen’s Park on Friday, April 17, Education Minister Stephen Lecce indicated that more than 21,000 iPads would be deployed, via school boards. The boards will determine the eligibility requirements.
“Our government made a commitment to parents, that we would ensure your children would be safe while they learn,” Lecce said. “We have to bridge the gap for those kids who may not have the tools to learn.”
iPads are being purchased by Ontario and distributed by school boards to students of low-income families, They will be equipped with free wireless data plans provided by Rogers, and the plans will be available until the end of June. The devices will also come pre-programmed with resources to help support learning.
Earlier this week, Ford confirmed that students will not be returning to the classroom in early May as initially planned, and suggested that any further closures would be up to the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Find the announcement here.
UPDATE AS OF April 23, 2020
Since the annoucement on April 17, by Education Minister Stephen Lecce, new details have emerged that suggest the statement made to supply students with iPads wasn't as straight forward as it appeared. According to the Ontario NDP, school boards have not received any new devices or additional funding for devices. Premier Doug Ford's announcement was only to highlight iPads that had already been purchased by school boards pre-Covid-19. This means that there are currently no additional iPads or additional money for iPads being provided to students by the province of Ontario. In the case of the TDSB, it specifically has approximately 6,500 LTE-enabled iPads that are being loaned to students for remote learning. This likely means that thousands of kids, especially those from lower-income households, are being let down and won't have the resources they need to pursue learning from home. This story emerged here.