UCDSB makes 1,900 devices available to students for distance learning


The Upper Canada District School Board rolled out phase one of the device distribution plan this week, which will put more than 1,900 laptops in the hands of secondary students and students with special education needs when complete.

All devices being loaned to students are Windows 10 laptops, which were already owned by the UCDSB. Each laptop had to be reconfigured for home use as they were previously set up for use at schools on the UCDSB network.

The UCDSB contacted families eligible for a device in this phase to arrange curbside-style pick-ups at our secondary schools. By the end of the week, 1,600 laptops will be delivered.

Device recipients were identified though a survey that was communicated to families in early April. The device distribution plan is following a priority sequence approach, addressing the needs of senior students, and students who were assigned special education tech devices prior to the school closures, as the first priority.

“It was important that we got devices into the hands of our secondary students that need it first, as the stakes are a bit higher for these students if they cannot participate in distance learning. We want our graduating students to be fully prepared for post-secondary school, or 9the world of work, next year. Providing a means for them to stay engaged in their schooling and complete their studies this year is an important step in that,” says Director of Education Stephen Sliwa. “Also, most courses at the secondary level have now moved into an online format using the provincial e-learning platform, which isn’t the case at the elementary level.”

The second phase of device distribution will incorporate locating and preparing additional devices for use by our elementary students, as well as investigating the Apple/Rogers partnership announced on April 17 by the Ministry of Education.

To accommodate elementary students that do not have access to a device or have no internet access, the school board has developed printed materials. Booklets that compile two weeks of activities for Kindergarten to Grade 3, Grade 4 to Grade 6, and Grade 7 and Grade 8 were mailed to approximately 1,000 students this week. These mailouts will continue for the duration of the school closure period for any student that requires them.

“Our mission is to prepare all students for a successful life, and all of our staff members are doing everything they can to help students stay connected to their learning,” says Chair John McAllister.

If families didn’t fill out the needs assessment survey, they can still do so. If they don’t have access to a device to fill out the survey, they can call 613-342-0435 (toll free 1-888-593-5556) to leave call back information. The survey is a tool to assess needs only, it doesn’t guarantee a device will be available.


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