Distributing Computers and Internet for Students

Distributing Computers and Internet for Students
Posted on 04/14/2020
Distributing Computers and Internet for Students

We are committed to a Culture of Caring. Everyone deserves an opportunity to learn.

With school closures due to the COVID-19, we were suddenly forced to move learning online. Unfortunately, not all OCDSB students have access to a computer or wifi.

From the start of the school closure, our team has been focused on how we could support students without computers or access to reliable Internet. Following the March Break, teachers and school staff reached out to families to determine a sense of the need that existed.

Based on the information we were able to compile, approximately 7000 students were in need of digital devices and 2500 students reported to be without the Internet/wifi or the connection was weak or not reliable.

In response, the OCDSB has begun an ambitious effort to distribute 7000 Chromebooks from our schools and purchase 1700 Internet hotspot devices.

The hotspots are tablets with data plans, which students can use as the access point for the Internet (similar to using your phone as a hotspot). The students will connect the Chromebook to the tablet and then they will be connected to the wifi.

School staff have been busy packaging computers and we will begin distributing Chromebooks this week and the first order of 700 hotspots via courier to families late next week.

Demand for Internet hotspots is high. The second order of 700 hotspots will arrive next week and the third order will arrive at the end of the month.

We have also been approached by the Kiwanis Clubs of Eastern Ontario, which will be raising funds to purchase Chromebooks for students in need through their Kiwanis Computers for Kids program.

Beyond this, it’s worth noting that staff are being extremely creative in how they are supporting students with low-technology solutions. This includes establishing the home-school connection with the student and parents through phone calls. For example, teachers have been calling parents to provide instructions, engage in a read aloud with the student and provide instructions for assignments. Families who have a cell phone can use it to take a picture of the student learning and send it to the teacher.

We know there is more work to do to ensure all students can have an opportunity to learn during this difficult time, particularly students with special needs or English Language Learners.

Still, we would like to thank our tireless teachers, principals and technology staff for your commitment to students.

If you require assistance with access to technology, please contact your child's teacher or principal.

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