The city is ordering 100,000 iPads for public school students, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday, with the goal of delivering devices to families by next month.
“Any student who still needs an iPad will get an iPad or if their iPad broke or there is any problem we’ll replace it,” de Blasio said. “We need the remote learning whether it’s part of the week or all week… we need to make sure they get the technology they need and we will.”
The announcement comes a day after the DOE revealed 50% of the city’s 1.1 million public school students have opted to take their classes completely remotely and the day that public and private schools in nine Brooklyn and Queen’s zip codes will shutter their doors due to COVID–forcing more students to depend completely on home internet and devices.
Yesterday, 500 iPads were shipped to schools in COVID hot spots yesterday and 750 more are scheduled to reach schools today, according to a DOE spokesperson. “Our students in the impacted zip codes are top of mind, and we’re currently shipping over 1,200 iPads to schools in these areas,” spokesperson Sarah Casasnovsas.
” We’re working closely with schools to ensure families have what they need to participate in remote learning, prioritizing students living in shelter and those without internet access at home.” It is unclear how school administrations are organizing device pick up now that school buildings are closed.
Over the weekend, Mayor de Blasio proposed a plan to close all schools, daycares and non-essential businesses in hot spot areas on Wednesday in order to mitigate the further spread of the virus. The plan, of course, could not be rolled out without state approval and on Monday Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the order to shut down schools a day ahead of what City Hall had pitched.
Overall, the Department of Education has 950,000 tablets and laptops available for remote learning 500,000 of which are school-owned devices. Roughly 300,000 of those devices are iPads procured through Apple in the spring after the city shut down schools.