School district temporarily donates iPads to hospital patients

Local News

Hospitals are limiting who can go inside the buildings, but local schools are making sure patients still get to see visitors — virtually. The Sioux Falls School District temporarily donated iPads to Avera Health. Here’s how the health system has big plans for the devices.

iPads aren’t just for games. For several years, they’ve been helping students learn virtual lessons in the classroom. Right now, schools are closed. That’s why the Sioux Falls School District is putting these nearly 100 unused iPads to good use.

“What a great way to use them for patient care and for health care,” Brian Maher, Sioux Falls School District superintendent, said.

The district loaded up the devices to take to Avera Health. Superintendent Brian Maher says Avera requested the iPads, so patients can use them to video chat with their loved ones. Even though most people can’t physically visit the hospital, it’s still important for patients to see visitors.

“I can’t imagine being in a hospital and not being able to have any family members,” Maher said.

“There’s been a tremendous increase in the need for our residents and our patients to be able to connect with their families, virtually,” Dzenan Berberovic, Avera McKennan Foundation Chief Philanthropy Officer, said. “We thrive on human connection.”

Kindergarteners and first graders in the district typically use the iPads. They’re getting homework packets right now, so they aren’t using them. The district will get the iPads back.

It’ll likely be awhile before anyone is back in a classroom. But, even if it’s just a device for virtual reality, it seems like every day we’re learning new ways to make a real difference to help each other through tough times.

“We’re part of the ecosystem that is the City of Sioux Falls,” Maher said. “Right now we have a tremendous social responsibility as part of that ecosystem.”

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