NYC schools go remote: Are kids properly equipped with devices, internet?

Reopening Schools
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NEW YORK CITY — As New York City schools head into their second wave of fully remote learning, concerns about students having access to computers or tablets for virtual classes are only growing.

The city announced Wednesday that school buildings will close as the city’s positivity rate reached the 3% benchmark in it’s 7-day rolling average. The closure will take place Thursday.

That means 100% of the city’s public school student body will be learning remotely until at least Thanksgiving, the mayor said, meaning devices are now vital for every student.

How many students are currently without devices?

READ MORE: NYC schools to temporarily shutdown amid surge in COVID-19 cases

The answer to that question is unclear, but an October report said more than 77,000 students were without a device for remote learning or an internet connection at home.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who heads the education committee, said Wednesday tens of thousands of students remain without a device, making the sudden shift to remote learning incredibly difficult.

Thousands of kids are actually sharing devices, too, according to the October report, making learning at home nearly impossible.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said Wednesday 40,000 devices either have arrived or will arrive by the end of the week — that’s about 40% of the 100,000 devices the city has ordered.

The demand for low-cost laptops created supply chain problems this fall, including shipment delays and shortages.

In the interim, schools have prepared paper packets and assignments for students without devices.

“We are equipping every student with the resources they need to participate in remote learning, and our schools are working hard to prepare materials for students who still need a device, including worksheets, projects, textbooks and more. We have an additional 100,000 LTE-enabled iPads on the way and will make sure any student who still needs a device gets one,” the city said in a statement.

READ MORE: NYC schools to temporarily shutdown amid surge in COVID-19 cases

The mayor said the city is reaching out to students and families to make sure they’re equipped, and it’ll be an ongoing process.

Concerns remain, though, about making sure children in shelters are equipped with devices and WiFi for remote learning.

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