LONDON, ONT. -- In an effort to teach students during the COVID-19 crisis, the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) rolled out e-learning this week.

On Tuesday, the school board began handing out iPads to parents of students who require individual assistive technology.

“This is phase one of the technology deployment, later in the week or into next week other equipment will be deployed to different families,” says vice principal Cheryl Smith.

TVDSB will distribute nearly 12,000 used devices to students. These include iPads and tablets that were already personalized for students in classrooms, designed to support individual learning needs.

For mother of four, Corrie Lemieux, the tablet she picked up will help her son, who suffers from hearing loss, continue to learn during this time.

“With school not being in, it puts him back because of his hearing, so I am really grateful we can have this and keep his speech as it should be,” says Lemieux.

TVDSB says it remains committed to ensuring every student has the opportunity to learn through a variety of ways.

“One way that they can learn, is being able to interact with their teachers, access online resources that are available through the school board and through the ministry of education," says Sheila Powell, superintendent of achievement.

"We want to make sure that as many students as possible have access to all of those resources.”

As for grading, the board has asked the teachers to be as flexible as possible, recognizing that work might be coming in from students in a variety of ways and assessment will differ from one student to another.

Parents interested in getting one of these devices should contact their child's principal.