IBM and Coronavirus stories

IBM teams up with New York schools during crisis to aid students

The internet was an obvious solution for New York City school officials trying to teach the one million-plus students left isolated by the Coronavirus. But while the internet enables access to information, not all students have the tools.

It is estimated that more than 300,000 students in New York City have no internet connection in their home. With schools closed for the remainder of the school year, these students—part of the nation's largest public education system—risk being left behind at a crucial point in their academic lives.

To address this challenge the New York City Department of Education and IBM are now provisioning 300,000 tablets with educational and security software and free cellular data connections so that New York City public school students can tap into their school's remote learning program as part of the city-wide online education rollout during the pandemic.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio thanked IBM during an Easter Sunday press conference at City Hall for the work done to help inner-city students. "Everything we've asked, they've been doing—thank you, IBM.”

IBM has been guided by Jessica Tisch, the City’s Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), who has put in place an aggressive initiative to help transition kids to distance learning. IBM and the City have compressed a typical 6 month timeline in to less than 2 weeks, mobilizing the very day the mayor first closed schools.

"A quarantine is disruptive in so many ways, but with these devices at least students will be able to return to a normal learning schedule," said Vanessa Hunt, Partner, IBM Global Business Services. "No one should have to fall behind in their education because of a crisis that was out of their control."

Since the start of the pandemic, IBM has worked closely with progressive organizations worldwide like New York City to find all available options to apply technology in ways that enable communities to adapt quickly and with impact.

→ Visit the IBM News Room's complete coverage of IBM's response to the coronavirus pandemic