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Muskoka Post Staff
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 is being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data. Apple is providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support 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 iPad to students who don't have either the technology or the internet they need to access the Learn at Home program. To date, over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need. The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.
Also, Apple is providing videos, apps and books to help teachers build engaging lessons for students at home, along with fun and creative activities that kids and families can do with the built-in features of iPad. Apple is also offering teachers free one-to-one virtual coaching by Apple Professional Learning Specialists.
In addition to providing free wireless data, 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. The Province has accelerated the delivery of broadband internet access, currently on track to be in every high school in Ontario by September 2020 and elementary school by September 2021.
"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.
"For some of the most vulnerable members of our society, accessing online learning tools at home is an added burden at a time when there is already a lot of stress," said Dean Prevost, President, Rogers for Business. "Rogers is pleased to be working alongside the Ontario Government, Apple and school boards across the province to help close the digital divide for some of our most vulnerable young people and their families."