American public school systems face a shortage of 5 million laptops for students
As many students in the United States start school online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public school systems are facing a major problem: there aren’t enough laptops for their students.
According to the Associated Press, the three largest computer manufacturers in the world (Lenovo, HP, and Dell) have informed multiple school districts that they have a combined shortage of approximately 5 million laptops.
The three companies are the primary source for furnishing school districts with computers for students, primarily Chromebooks. However, the companies’ delivery efforts have been stymied due to a combination of factors, including massively increased demand and tariffs on components manufactured by certain Chinese companies.
Individual districts throughout the states are waiting on the delivery of thousands of devices, many of which are not expected to arrive until late October. Some school systems have been informed that their laptops won’t be available until the end of the calendar year.
According to Danial Thigpen, a spokesman for Lenovo, the Chinese manufacturer has “a backlog of more than 3 million Chromebooks.”
Considering schools’ increased reliance on online learning tools over the past few years and the health risks present due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many students will be ill-equipped to participate in the curriculum of multiple school districts.
Across the United States, public school systems have steadily increased their use of online software and websites to supplement learning, even for students that are physically in the classroom. Without an ample stock of laptops to supply to their students, school districts may need to pivot to accommodate their students.