One month after in-school classes were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, school divisions in Manitoba will start paying for some student’s Wi-Fi connections.
Speaking to CBC, Lucie Pelletier, a mother of five children ranging in ages from four to seventeen, said she got her internet connection set up on Tuesday.
“They get to keep in touch with their teachers via email now. They adore their teachers very, very much. This helps their stress levels. They miss school,” Pelletier says.
Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks School Division is planning to install a router and internet connection for 200 students. This will cost Seven Oaks $40,000, which the school is allocating costs from areas currently on hold, like extracurricular activities and field trips.
During the school closure, Seven Oaks distributed 1300 Chromebooks which would have been sitting unused in the schools. For some students, the Chromebook is a paperweight without a Wi-Fi connection. The lack of access to class meetings through video chats or online resources would result in students having a hard time catching up with their peers.
“So anything we can do to kind of keep kids on pace with their peers, making progress, and socially engaged with their teachers and peers is just the right thing to do,” Seven Oaks superintendent Brian O’Leary told CBC.
He adds that some families have been brought to tears when they found out they were getting Wi-Fi connections.
In a CBC interview, Bell MTS says it’s helping provide online learning to school divisions with the launch of its remote access internet plan. The company is in touch with several school divisions about setting students up with Wi-Fi access. The month-to-month service will be available until schools can reopen across Manitoba.
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