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Students face laptop shortage amid pandemic

Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 23:48:51-04

TULSA, Okla. — For many, a laptop or Chromebook is essential to their work or school day. That high demand is making them difficult to come by.

“It’s hard to find laptops," said Randy Wilson, owner of Wholesale Computer Supply in Tulsa. "It’s hard to find printers. Webcams are almost impossible to find. The whole world’s bought up webcams.”

High demand and disruption of supply chains is causing a jam in the production of laptops and Chromebooks made by some of the world’s largest computer companies: Dell, HP and Lenovo.

Another part of the issue is President Trump’s recent sanctions on Chinese companies, causing massive backlogs.

Wilson said they still have a good supply, but prices are increasing as the pandemic wears on.

“Even brand new, educational grade laptops, the manufacture has raised the price like $100 dollars each," Wilson said. "Therefore, even in the secondhand market, or the refurbished market, prices are up. Everything cost more than it did six, eight months ago.”

Tulsa Public Schools start distance learning next week.

READ MORE: Tulsa Public Schools approves distance learning for start of school year

Last spring, the district passed out around 21,000 Chromebooks, and another 200 for summer classes, all paid for with school bonds.

TPS said it’s passing them out for the year when school resumes next week.

While there’s a shortage, TPS said it placed its order a while ago and will have enough for all students.

The district is also giving out about 12,000 hot spots to those families without internet at home.

Meanwhile, the city of Tulsa is using funding from the CARES Act to provide internet access to 22,000 Tulsa families without it.

Find out more about the TPS distance learning plan and support here.

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