Students go through a laptop shortage for their online classes


San Joaquin County has had strictly online classes since due to the pandemic since August. Thousands of families have been picking up district computers at the beginning of the school year to prepare for class. However, according to Manteca Unified School District, roughly a third of high school students will be without district-issued Chromebooks due to a laptop shortage.

Laptops are in short supply, causing a headache for schools and parents as students begin another school year. With many schools and colleges across the country still engaged in distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for laptops has reached a historical level.

As school districts across the country placed bulk orders for new laptops to ensure that all students will have the tools needed to learn online, they were told the orders would be delayed.

According to the Tracy Press, Tracy Unified School District is part of a nationwide rush in search for laptop computers in a short amount of time. Tracy Unified’s associate superintendent for business services said that everyone must have got their laptops all at once, which caused a shortage at this point.

A recent survey by Tracy Unified showed that about 70 percent of the district’s students lack the technology of taking online classes.

On the CRN report, the top three computer manufacturers, Lenovo, HP, and Dell, said they are facing a shortage of nearly five million laptops, leaving many districts trying to dig up and refurbish older machines.

The shortage has driven up the prices, making it difficult for families struggling financially to purchase a new machine. Computers that were selling for $250-$300 are either out of stock or being sold for twice the amount, according to the iHeartRadio. Higher-end models are still available in some stores and online like amazon, best buy, and eBay and including overstock, but even those are starting to disappear.

Apple does not seem to have the same issues and is still selling their more expensive laptops without delay. The MacBook Air is the cheapest option at $999, while the MacBook Pro starts at $2,399, according to the Apple store customer service.

Manufacturers said they are doing their best to keep up with the demand, but the supply chain was not prepared to handle the massive influx of demand.

“The lead times in our products service are getting better by the day, but that’s the challenge in front of us,” said Dell COO Jeff Clarke on the Dell Technologies website. “It’s this unanticipated spike in demand in this particular sub-segment that has driven industry shortages, which I’m sure you heard from everybody, we’re responding to.” 

While classes on campus are limited this semester. Chromebooks are available for check-out to students. Free wifi is available in Delta College parking lots from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. This includes the South Campus at Mountain House, and you do not need a parking permit