April 9, 2020

Peel board connects families in need with more than 16,000 devices

Peel families to receive tablets, laptops, Wi-Fi-enabled devices/routers to support learning at home​

To support learning at home and remove barriers to teaching and learning, the Peel District School Board developed a plan to provide students and staff who needed technology with access to these tools. We have begun to distribute more than 14,500 devices and approximately 1,900 Wi-Fi-enabled devices/routers to students who require them to participate in distance learning. Staff who did not have a device to be able to deliver instruction from home were provided devices last week.

"As we explored this new way of learning, we recognized that these are not normal times and so we cannot expect that all students will be equitably well-positioned to learn from home. We anticipated a significant need for devices and Internet access amongst our student population, so we asked teachers to contact families to learn their technology needs, and they did so with care and compassion," says Director of Education Peter Joshua. "We want to ensure that every learner has the tools they need to be successful; we cannot penalize them for the circumstances they find themselves in. In every discussion, equity of access has been top-of-mind. In the work we are doing to meet students' technology needs, we are removing one of the barriers that exists in a distance learning environment. We are committed to ensuring that other barriers are also addressed so that we can achieve our goal of ensuring success for all."

This week, the Peel board's focus will be to deliver technology to more than 2,000 secondary students, with graduating students as a priority. Elementary schools will distribute devices to families beginning the week of April 13, 2020. We anticipate that this distribution process could take up to two or three weeks given the volume of devices that need to be handed out. Students' Special Equipment Amount (SEA) technology and non-technology equipment will be distributed to families the week of April 13.

Notes Associate Director of Operational Support Services Jaspal Gill, "Staff have worked tirelessly to collect devices, prepare inventory for distribution, develop distributions plans and safely deliver devices to students. Through existing Peel board inventory that will be loaned, donations from organizations and community members, and purchases of additional devices, we are able to provide a solution for every Peel board student who identified a need." Organizations who wish to donate devices are asked to email [email protected].

"We are thankful to community partners like Venture X who donated 1,000 Chromebooks to Peel board students and are encouraging other businesses to support students through the Tech 4 Learning fundraising campaign. Their hope is to deliver 10,000 devices to students in the Peel community, and we very much appreciate their generosity," says Joshua.

Internet access will also be provided to students who indicated they did not have access at home. Internet sticks will be mailed directly to students' homes beginning this week. Other families who do not have access to a device or the Internet will be provided with Internet-enabled devices in the days ahead. Families will be notified when these are ready to be picked up.

The day(s) and times that devices will be delivered to families is a school-based decision and these details will be communicated to families directly along with a protocol for how to pick up devices safely. The distribution protocol is aligned with Peel Public Health direction and guidelines related to physical distancing.

To learn more about the Peel board's distance learning plan, review A Community of Care Plan​: Peel District School Board's Learning and Support Plan. Information and updates will continue to be made available at www.peelschools.org/coronavirus.

The Peel District School Board serves more than 154,000 students in kindergarten to the end of secondary school. Operating 257 schools in the municipalities of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, the Peel board is the largest employer in Peel.

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Ryan Strang, Communications Officer, [email protected]

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