London

How many chromebooks and iPads were handed out? What the numbers show

The Thames Valley District School Board's 80,000 students are transitioning to online learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public school board has given out more than 10,000 iPads and chromebooks

Technology is ready to be distributed to students at Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School. (Twitter.com/LouisearbourFI)

It's a Herculean task to transition more than 80,000 students to online learning from home, in an area larger than all of Prince Edward Island. 

Here are a few numbers that show how big the effort is: 

Students in Thames Valley: 80,000

Chromebooks and iPads cleaned, packaged and given to families: 10,000

Area in square kilometres of the school board: 7,000

Devices distributed to families of students with special needs: 2,000

Wireless devices ordered for students without internet service: 600

'Redefining teaching'  

The school board has ordered those wireless devices, but until they're configured and distributed, the board will be providing printed materials to families. They'll be going out by courier beginning next week, and other material will be customized for students and will be delivered by Canada Post. 

Education director Mark Fisher said the shutdown of schools by the pandemic has made school boards redefine how teachers instruct and students learn.

"We have to do everything we can to make sure every student has the opportunity to continue learning," he said.

"We don't want any student to be negatively impacted due to the pandemic. Our educators will be focused on learning versus evaluation, and no student grade will go down as a result of the pandemic. If students make an effort, grades can only go up."

The school board is mindful that some students may have difficulty participating in online learning, Fisher said. 

"All of our teachers are reaching out to every single student across Thames Valley." 

School board social workers, attendance counsellors and psychologists will be contacting students struggling with anxiety and stress or facing difficult circumstances. They'll also contact kids whose parents or guardians are employed in essential services.

What about the London District Catholic School Board?

1,300 Chromebooks were loaned out to students so all families have at least one device for students to learn online. 

180 laptops loaned to staff, so all classroom teachers have a device and internet access

The board is trying to help 100 families who do not have internet access, a spokesperson said. 

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