Ontario establishes partnerships to make home learning more accessible
At an April 17 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with an announcement that the Ontario government has established key partnerships to make home learning more accessible.
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.
iPads with free Rogers LTE wireless data are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards and Apple is providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with various resources to support both learning and working from home.
“This important partnership will enable students to learn while making technology accessible for those that truly need it,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
“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.”
This week, Ontario school boards began distributing iPads to students who don’t have the tools or technology to access the Learn at Home program and to date, over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need with the free Rogers wireless data available until the end of June.
“With this collaboration and commitment to on-going 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.
Apple is also providing videos, apps and books to help teachers build engaging lessons for students at home, along with activities that kids and families can do with the built-in features of iPad.
Additionally, Apple is offering teachers free one-to-one virtual coaching by Apple Professional Learning Specialists.
Rogers is also working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed, low-cost internet to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across Ontario through its Connected for Success program, as well as the Government of Canada Connecting Families initiative.
Ontario has accelerated the delivery of broadband internet access and is currently on track to be in every high school in the province by September 2020 and elementary school by September 2021.
During this announcement, Ford further emphasized the importance of continuing education for students no matter what.
“Our priority is to make sure students are healthy and safe,” said Ford. “We want to make sure we see kids graduate this year.”
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