The DOE is lending 300,000 iPads to students to keep them connected from home

As South Bronx parents prepared for their children to stay home at least another two weeks following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s extension of school closures until at least April 15, city schools continued to send out iPads to students who need them for online lessons and homework.

The Department of Education is lending 300,000 iPads to students to keep them connected from home. The first shipment made its way to students in shelters last week, and starting Sunday, the department said it will focus delivery to students in temporary housing, emergency shelters, youth shelters and foster care.

By the week of April 6, delivery will be targeted to students in high school, multilingual learners, students with disabilities and those in public housing. 

Families seeking to request a device can do so by filling out a form on the DOE website. Teachers and staff members can use the same form to request a device on behalf of their students. 

Priority is given to students most in need, based on their living situations and their access to a computer or smartphone, the department said. The devices are granted on a temporary basis and need to be returned at a later date. Each iPad is limited to one per student. 

“When you look at the number of cases that’s still increasing, it only makes sense to keep the schools closed,” Cuomo said in a news conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Friday. 

Public and private schools are also distributing activity packets to their students, either online or in-person for pickup.  

Before making a decision to shut schools two weeks ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio had cited concern that students would not receive meals they receive at school. To alleviate this hardship, the Department of Education is providing three free meals daily for all NYC children.  

Meals are distributed at more than 400 sites across the city, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. Students can find their nearest site with the lookup tool on the DOE website. 

Parents and guardians are allowed to pick up meals for their children. All three meals are picked up at the same time and no ID, registration or documentation is required.  

To help families with no internet connection, Charter Communications is offering free Spectrum internet for 60 days to K-12 and college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. The communications network is also partnering with local school districts to ensure communities are aware of the free offer. 

“Americans rely on high speed broadband in nearly every aspect of their lives and Charter is committed to ensuring our customers maintain reliable access to the online resources and information they want and need,” the company said in an announcement. 

The New York Public Library has closed all locations due to the outbreak, but it is offering students one-on-one tutoring online. Partnering with Brainfuse, an online tutoring company, the NYPL provides free homework help from 2 p.m to 11 p.m daily.

Assistance is available in English and Spanish from elementary to high school students. Students must log in with their library card number to receive access. New York residents can apply for a library card through the SimplyE app.  A card also provides access to e-books, audiobooks and databases. 

The library is also providing online resources for test prep and career services. Students can access study materials and practice tests for PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP, GED and state-standardized tests.  The website also links to assistance with cover letter and resume writing resources.

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