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Helping Ontario students in need access online learning during COVID-19 pandemic

April 17, 2020

Articles

Now more than ever, connectivity at home is vital for students as we adapt to the public health crisis of COVID-19.

For some of the most vulnerable members of our society, accessing online learning tools at home is an added challenge at a time when there is already a lot of stress. Connecting kids and teens to the digital world is essential, and this need is especially critical for underprivileged youth to reach their full potential. 

With schools closed right now, we’re collaborating with the Ontario Ministry of Education and school boards across the province to support Ontario’s Learn at Home program and help close the digital divide for some of the province’s most vulnerable young people.

We’re helping Ontario school boards provide an essential digital lifeline for those in need, and who may be facing extra burdens during the COVID-19 public health crisis. We have worked with our school boards, in collaboration with Apple, to help meet the educational needs of families and to provide affordable remote learning solutions such as iPads that are secure, easy to deploy and easy to use — so that no student is left behind while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. 

Starting this week, participating Ontario school boards are beginning to put iPads into the hands of their most vulnerable students. These iPads will come with free Rogers wireless data until the end of June 2020, so that these students can access the Learn from Home program for the balance of this school year.

We are also providing Internet connectivity through fixed wireless access (Wi-Fi) at no cost to seven homeless shelters in Toronto, to help support access to online education for some of our most vulnerable students that are living in these shelters. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 that require an internet connection for the Learn at Home program can now get on-line from their rooms in these facilities, at a time when they need it the most.

We all have a part to play. This collaboration between business and government will help to ensure children aren’t left behind as we enable Learn at Home for Ontario students.

Connecting more Ontario families in need

We are working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed internet access for $9.99 per month to families through our Connected for Success program. Our pioneering initiative launched in 2013 now reaches over 250,000 rent-geared-to-income and subsidized tenants through our partnerships with 350 housing partners across our Cable footprint in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, including Toronto Community Housing. We also participate in Connecting Families, an initiative of the federal government launched in 2018 that compliments Connected for Success. Families who receive the maximum Canada Child Benefit receive letters enabling them to participate in Connecting Families. Through one of the participating Internet Service Providers, families can sign up for high-speed home Internet services for $9.99 a month. The program is fully funded by the participating ISP.