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Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province has signed a recent deal with Apple to get iPads to students who don't have access to them, he said in a press conference Friday. This need is due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused school closures and a switch to remote learning.
"That's why we worked on a new partnership between Apple and Rogers with our Ontario School Boards. We're purchasing iPads at discounted prices for students in need. These iPads will have free wireless data and will help students from low income families continue their learning safely at home during this pandemic," said Ford.
"The Ontario government has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. iPad devices are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data. Apple is providing ongoing support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home," read part of the official press release.
Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce spoke about the deal as well, saying, "This important partnership will enable students to learn while making technology accessible for those that truly need it."
"Our government is committed to ensuring equitable access to education, so that every child—irrespective of ability, geography or socio-economic circumstance—can continue their learning while schools are closed," he continued.
Ontario school boards began issuing out iPad devices to students this week for the purpose of providing access to the Learn at Home Program. Students who previously didn't have access to either the internet or an iPad will be able to receive one that is already equipped with free wireless data. The free data is provided by Roger and will last until the end of June. So far, over 21,000 iPads have been secured to sent out to Ontario families that are in need.
Apple announced that in addition to the iPads, free apps will be provided, as well as videos and books to help teachers develop engaging lessons for their students at home. The iPads will have built-in features such as games and creative apps they can play with their families for after school activities.
Ontario teachers will also get the opportunity to take some free one-on-one lessons from some of Apple's Professional Learning Specialists.
Rogers is working alongside Ontario school boards and members of housing partners through its Connected for Success program, to provided high-speed internet at a low cost for subsidized tenants. The Government of Canada Connecting Families initiative will also be working with members of housing partners across the province to ensure delivery of broadband internet access is in every high school across the province by this September and in every elementary school by September of next year.
"With this collaboration and commitment to ongoing support for remote learning, our school boards, Apple and Rogers clearly demonstrate the Ontario spirit and the incredible ability to overcome any obstacle for our kids," said Minister Lecce."