Technology and Connectivity

Devices and High-Speed Internet

In order to provide students with devices to support remote learning, NYCDOE worked with Apple, T Mobile, and other public and private partners to lend LTE-enabled iPads to students who did not have one for their schoolwork; in total, we loaned more than 321,500 LTE-enabled iPads. Because the iPads are LTE-enabled, they come with a data plan, and therefore do not require that families have pre-existing internet connectivity.

To distribute these devices, NYCDOE created an iPad request form for families, translated into nine languages, and provided a phone number for those families without internet access to use to request a device. NYCDOE worked with staff in our schools, community-based organization partners, and family advocates to reach families across the city. We leveraged social media and our websites to promote the process for requesting a device, and worked with partners such as NYCHA to distribute flyers publicizing the iPads.

The first students to receive devices were the 13,000 public school students who reside in Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters. We then prioritized other students in shelter, other temporary housing and foster care, high school students and students with disabilities, multilingual learners, students in public housing, and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

All Principals, Parent Coordinators, Superintendents, Borough Citywide Offices, and Executive Superintendents also have access to a live report that details which students in their schools have requested a device, as well as the status of that device. Schools used this tool as they followed up with families who needed a device.

When students participating in blended learning return to school buildings this fall, they will bring the borrowed iPads to the school they attend in the fall, even if they are transitioning from elementary to middle school or middle to high school. The devices will remain assigned to that school’s inventory. If the student continues to need a device, the school will assign a device to the student.

Requesting A Device

If a family does not have internet access at home and has not received an internet-enabled device, they should:

  • Let their school know and fill out the family device request form on the iPad Distribution page, which allows them to indicate if they need a device, wifi access, or both.
  • This form will remain active so schools can see any requests from members of their school community that are not yet fulfilled.
  • Families can also continue fill out the Device Request form by reaching out the DIIT help desk at (718) 935-5100.
  • Families can find contact information for their school by visiting Find A School and clicking on the General Information section of the school details.
  • 3k and Pre-K programs can be found at

 To meet this need, the schools can: 

  • Check the Remote Learning Device Survey to see if the student has already received an iPad 
  • Redistribute an LTE-enabled iPad to students who do not have wi-fi access and give non-LTE enabled devices to students who have wi-fi access at home.
  • If a student is in need of wi-fi access and the school does not have the capacity to distribute a hotspot or LTE-enabled device, the NYCDOE will work with the student’s school to distribute an LTE-enabled iPads – up to 30,000 are centrally available. 


Schools must acknowledge the impact of remote learning and blended learning on the ways in which students complete their assigned work. There are a number of factors schools will review and consider when planning how students will demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards.

Schools will take into consideration students’ access to devices and support them in catching up on their learning once they have received a device. Schools will consider modifying the expectations for work assigned before students had access to devices to ensure that students can sustain their learning without being overwhelmed.

Work issued by schools prior to a student receiving a device (i.e., paper materials) will be reviewed and considered in teachers’ overall assessment of whether students have met learning outcomes.

Schools may not have different grading policies for different student populations. Grading policies will apply to all students equally, including students with disabilities participating in both standard and alternate assessment and English language learners. 

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