Ontario is extending an arm to its students affected by COVID-19. In his press briefing on Friday, April 17, Premier Doug Ford announced he is partnering with Apple and Rogers to offer free iPads for students in low-income families. The scheme will run until the end of the school year.

Ford announced the initiative on Friday afternoon to gathered reporters.

"For our children, education is everything, and no matter what, their education must continue. That means having the educational tools needed to facilitate online learning," he said.

He announced a new partnership between the Ontario government, Apple, Rogers, and provincial school boards.

"We're purchasing iPads at discounted prices for students in need," Ford explained. "These iPads will have free wireless data and will help students from low-income families continue their learning safely at home during this pandemic."

Per Ontario's release, the iPads will come loaded with Rogers LTE data which will be available until June.

A Rogers spokesperson clarified to Narcity via email that the free wireless data will come at no cost to the ministry, school boards, or families.*

Education Minister Stephen Lecce added that the partnership will help students in Ontario "who need it most."

Per CP24, Lecce suggested 21,000 iPads would be distributed as part of the plan.

CP24 adds that individual school boards will determine the requirements for eligibility.

"These students will also be able to access the resources available through our Learn at Home portal," Ford continued to explain.

"For parents, I hope this gives you some peace of mind knowing that your children will have access to the tools they need to continue learning during this very difficult period."

It is not yet entirely clear exactly how the logistics of delivering these iPads to families who need them will work in practice.

Ford and Lecce also stressed at the briefing that there is currently no solid timeline for any school reopenings in the province.

Earlier this week, the Premier admitted the hopeful back-to-school date of May 4 was simply not going to be feasible.

"No, we aren't sending our children into harm's way," Ford said.

Ford and his staff have reiterated that education facilities will only be reopened when he has been assured by health staff that it is safe to do so.

The Ontario government launched its online student portal on April 6.

Earlier this week, Ford extended the province's state of emergency by another 28 days, taking it deep into the month of May, as things stand.

Schools in Ontario have been shut since March Break. They don't look like they'll be opening again any time soon.

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