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School district donates IPads to long-term care facilities

Video chats allow people in senior living to stay in touch with family members when visitors aren't allowed (Photo: St. Paul Elder Services)
Video chats allow people in senior living to stay in touch with family members when visitors aren't allowed (Photo: St. Paul Elder Services)(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 4:22 PM CDT
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At a time when we are still being asked to practice social distancing, and many nursing homes, senior living, and long-term care facilities aren't welcoming guests yet, virtual visits are the only way for some family and friends to connect.

Virtual visits with family and friends have been a lifesaver for residents at St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna during the campus shutdown because of the coronavirus.

"We're going on three months here of being restricted to visitors, so it's been really difficult," " says President and CEO Sondra Norder, "but we have put all of our available resources into allowing our residents and families to stay connected virtually."

Despite all of the resources, not everyone has a device that allows them to video chat. That's where the Kaukauna School District comes in.

Earlier this week, it donated thirty iPads that it was retiring to St. Paul Elder Services.

According to Jim Georffrey, the Kaukauna School District Technology Coordinator, "While the equipment isn't usable for our students for some of the applications that they're using, it's definitely usable for videoconferencing."

Video chatting might not be the same as giving someone a hug, but St. Paul officials say socialization is important for its residents. And while it hasn't put the iPads into use yet, it's created a task force to ensure the donation gets to those who need it most.

"We're assessing who has devices already, who wants to do these types of things, trying to plan some education, trying to plan the coordination with families outside of the building," says Corey Tienor from St. Paul Elder Services. "There's so many different lives we can touch in this process."

The 30 iPads are just part of the what the Kaukauna School District is doing for St. Paul Elder Services. It's also cleaning old Chromebooks that it will be donating. And Action 2 News has learned the school district is working with other long-term facilities in the community, too.

Jim Geoffrey adds, "This school year we're getting rid of few more. We're also in contact with Brewster Village in Outagamie County and we're going to offer them 15 iPads, as well."

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