Virtual Learning Leads to Laptop Shortages

The major spike in students going to class at home is creating a big demand for tech, and short supply.

Posted: Sep 1, 2020 9:19 PM
Updated: Sep 2, 2020 9:29 AM

The rise in COVID-19 cases has complicated fall semester plans, and in turn, has led to a new list of school supplies.

Electronics are topping the list for necessities, but shoppers just might be out of luck as it's getting harder to pick up everything your child needs for the school year.

"I would say I’m probably spending several hundred dollars more than I would in the past," said parent Brandy Winch. She isn't alone in seeing this year's back to school budget balloon -- "Especially if you’ve got families with multiple kids that need electronics like a computer," she added.

That demand for electronics is especially high.

Normally, programs like EVSC's Virtual Academy see about 80 students. Now, those numbers are in the thousands.

Many of those students are lining up to rent things like Chromebooks from the school corporation.

But as Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation leaders shared at the program's kickoff this year, student access to technology goes beyond even the needs of those Virtual Academy attendees.

"Another option families have is a temporary--what we're calling remote option, where maybe for one to two weeks your child needs to be in a situation where they're away from school. You'll actually be connected to that homeroom teacher or that subject area teacher," explained Jason Woebkenberg.

But making that connection may not be easy for some families.

If students and districts across the Tri-State don't have access to tech tools, parents have to turn to shopping to solve the issue.
Across America, they're quickly finding not only short supply but high prices.

Many laptops start around $300, that is, if parents can get them before the stock runs dry.

As parents navigate all the challenges the pandemic presents, now they're facing one more:
Making sure their child isn't tardy to the virtual classroom.

If you are looking to buy a laptop and find one in stock, experts say stick with known retailers to avoid getting ripped off and out of hundreds of dollars.

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