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Citing laptop shortage, PIttsburgh district delays start of classes by a week

Aug. 31, 2020
The district still is waiting to receive thousands of computers it has ordered for online instruction.

Citing delays in technology acquisition, the Pittsburgh (Pa.) school district has postponed the start of the school year until Sept. 8.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the change affects the start of classes for all students preK-12. Originally, all but kindergarten and pre-kindergarten were scheduled to start  Aug. 31; kindergarten and preK were scheduled to begin Sept. 3.

The district attributes the delay to a nationwide technology supply-chain shortages that has prevented it from providing laptops to students need the machines to take classes from home. Students will spend at least the first nine weeks of the school year taking classes virtually.

Up to 7,000 laptops are expected to arrive by the end of next week to fulfill the outstanding need, the district says; some are not expected to be delivered until late October.

"By delaying the start of school we can ensure that no student is inequitably disadvantaged because they do not have access to the tools they need to start the school year successfully," says superintendent Anthony Hamlet.

As of Aug. 27, according to the district, more than 6,440 of the devices that were ordered last spring were exchanged or distributed to students in need. More than 1,800 students still have a device from last school year that will not work for E-learning this year. Those devices will be exchanged as soon as possible, the district says.

District administrators say they will work with school staff to ensure that materials will be made available for students if delays continue past the start of classes.

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