Hot Topics     Home and Family     K-12     Education Guide    

Schools (and parents) confront laptop shortage



Students may lack devices for online learning

schools, laptops, shortage, students


As schools gear up to start the academic year with remote learning, some students may not have the necessary equipment to access their online classes and assignments. Predicted delivery delays of several months have been reported by school districts across the country, according to sources contacted by the Associated Press
 

Sales of Chromebooks and other low-cost computing devices surged this spring when the pandemic hit and schools went from in-person to remote learning. With supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, delays were already beginning.

On July 20, the Trump administration announced sanctions against Chinese companies said to be involved in such human rights abuses as forced labor, directed against the Uighur Muslim minority. Among the companies penalized is a manufacturer of components for low-cost Lenovo laptops. Lenovo has notified customers that the sanctions are contributing to delays in delivery.

Many school districts supply devices to students. Administrators say the shortage, which may persist into early 2021 in some cases, will interfere with education for these students. Also lacking are hotspots for Internet connections, vital for families who can't afford routers or who live in areas where broadband is not available.

See the HVP report on the status of broadband in the Hudson Valley.

One industry expert, Mikako Kitagawa of Gartner, Inc., noted that the pandemic caused shutdowns of Chinese computer factories in February and March, interrupting the supply of devices. When factories began to reopen, they were flooded by orders from corporations and government agencies whose employees were working from home, at the same time that school districts needed more computers. Many districts expected to return to in-person schooling this fall and did not order laptops until late in the summer.

A California poll revealed that among the state's 1100 school districts, there are 300,000 computers on back order. Districts in all regions of the country are waiting for shipment of laptops. Estimated delivery dates vary from October to December and are constantly changing.

Consumers are also affected by the shortage. On its website, Best Buy offers 36 models of Chromebooks priced under $500. This week, 33 of those models were marked as sold out. You could also could consider refurbished machines.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 5 tips to help families manage holiday stress

    The holiday season can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed

    ’Tis the season for holiday parties, travel, hosting and more. While it is a joyous time of year, the never-ending to-do lists and school being out of session can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed, children included. read more »
  • A foil packet meal for sweet fall simplicity

    Delicious and easy dinner with sweet potatoes

    Fall provides almost endless opportunities to gather friends and family around great food. From tailgates and family events to those precious last outdoor meals before winter sets in, the scenery of autumn is a perfect backdrop for sharing meals together. read more »
  • 5 steps for better meal prep

    Eat healthier and save time

    Eating healthier and saving time around the house are common goals for many families, and there’s one solution that can help attain both: meal-prepping. By planning and preparing meals in advance of each week, you can practice better portion control while creating free time for normally hectic mornings, afternoons and evenings. read more »
  • How to keep pets happy and healthy this holiday season

    7 tips to help you spot potential hazards for your furbaby

    The holiday season means fun and festivities for all, but getting wrapped up in all the excitement and celebrations can lead to forgetting about safety and precautions, especially for pets. read more »
  • Thanksgiving traditions and memory-making meals

    2 mouth-watering recipes everyone will love

    Starting with parades and ending with family meals, Thanksgiving provides all-day opportunities for celebrating life’s special moments with those nearest and dearest to your heart. read more »
  • How to protect your home and valuables this holiday travel season

    Protect your assets when you hit the road

    Whether you’re visiting your in-laws or taking a tropical vacation over the holidays, you’ll likely be leaving your house and the majority of your belongings unattended while you’re gone. Recent research suggests that if you’re like many Americans, you may not be doing enough to protect your assets when you hit the road. read more »
  • Webinar on nicotine and stress

    From NYS Smoker's Quitline

    Panel of national and state experts elucidates the "vicious cycle" as a result of regularly using tobacco and vape products read more »
  • Elevate a family-favorite side dish to a flavorful, protein-packed meal

    Turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner

    Taking the stress out of family meals at home can be as simple as turning your attention toward recipes that pack plenty of flavor without complicated prep. In fact, you can even turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner by simply adding your favorite protein. read more »
  • Put a plant-based twist on holiday baking

    Try these delectable holiday desserts

    Flavorful desserts are a staple of the holidays and the exciting, appetizing allure of new recipes can help elevate seasonal gatherings and create sweet memories. With near-endless options for celebrating the season, putting a plant-based twist on traditional recipes offers everyone the opportunity to indulge with decadent treats. read more »
  • Understanding GMOs

    Info from the FDA

    Many consumers are curious to learn more about GMOs. A GMO (genetically modified organism) is a plant, animal or microorganism that has had its genetic material (DNA) changed using technology that generally involves the transfer of specific DNA from one organism to another. read more »