Thousands of school districts across the US are planning to begin the school year with virtual classes. These virtual lessons will require a machine for each student, but many districts throughout the nation are struggling to meet the demand.
According to a report from AP News, manufacturers like Dell, HP and Lenovo have notified these districts of a laptop shortage totaling nearly 5 million devices.
The shortage began back in April when supply chains were disrupted from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and corresponding national shutdown. The delays have only increased as the school year draws near, and unexpected demand due to remote learning has only exacerbated the issue.
Sanctions against China due to forced labor and human rights abuses have also limited companies, like Lenovo, in obtaining critical components used in their machines. Lenovo is developing a plan to transition production of these components to alternative locations.
Many states are waiting for thousands of laptops with no clear answer in sight as to when these critical machines will be available. With the school year starting soon, this shortage is adding pressure to thousands of districts across the nation, and some districts are already facing the possible impact of rationing, with larger school districts getting their orders fulfilled before smaller districts.