NYC students wait a few weeks for the iPad, then have trouble connecting

Chanel Brunson had to jump through the hoop to get her kids distance learning devices.

On March 1, the day after Mayor de Blasio announced that the buildings would be closed and classes would begin online, Brunson went to PS 119, where his son Navon (9) and daughter Nariaha (5) went to pick up laptops. The school called the night before and said that it has a loan of Rs 200.

But Brunson didn’t get one. He has already arrived early to find a long line. Somehow, her baby’s name wasn’t on the list. “We were denied,” he said. Only her sixth grader, Neva, picked up a Chromebook from the nearby Blueprint Middle School.

Brunson filled out an online request for two iPads for his kids. “They said I had to wait until all the priorities were met,” including shelters, public housing, high school students and children with disabilities.

It took her kids a month to get two iPads, let alone remote classes.

The DOE spent 9 269 million to buy and equip the 300,000 iPads that came with WiFi and Internet, but the devices were “not what it was cracked,” Brunson said.

Chanel Brunson with her kids from left, Navan, Nariah and Nevah Fisher.
Chanel Brunson with her kids from left, Navan, Nariah and Nevah Fisher.J.C.Rice

Internet connections are often lost, leaving her children unable to suddenly log in to class, start homework, or make appointments with teachers. Brunson said he warns teachers when it happens.

Mom added, “I’m not the only one in these families that has a problem with this iPad.”

He called it a blessing that the Bronx nonprofit, Team First, gave his family two free Chromebooks for kids to finish classwork, which they transferred from the iPad.

Team First has provided 130 laptops to families since switching to DOE Remote Guide. Families can keep them; DOE iPads have been edited and will eventually return.

“There were a lot of challenges,” said Tyrone Grant, founder and CEO of Team First. “The DOE has made a significant effort, but this epidemic has illuminated the digital divide, especially for families in the South Bronx.”

About the author: Dale Freeman

Typical organizer. Pop culture fanatic. Wannabe entrepreneur. Creator. Beer nerd.

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