NEW YORK — Millions of U.S. children are encountering all sorts of inconveniences that come with digital instruction during the coronavirus pandemic, and a more basic challenge has been that they don’t have computers and can’t attend classes held online, The New York Times (NYT) reported on Monday.
“A surge in worldwide demand by educators for low-cost laptops and Chromebooks — up to 41 percent higher than last year — has created months-long shipment delays and pitted desperate schools against one another,” said the paper.
Districts with deep pockets often win out, leaving poorer ones to give out printed assignments and wait until winter for new computers to arrive, according to the report.
“That has frustrated students around the country, especially in rural areas and communities of color, which also often lack high-speed internet access and are most likely to be on the losing end of the digital divide,” said NYT.
In 2018, 10 million students didn’t have an adequate device at home, a study found. That gap, with much of the country still learning remotely, could now be crippling, the paper said.
“The learning loss that’s taken place since March when they left, when schools closed, it’ll take years to catch up. This could impact an entire generation of our students,” Angie Henry, chief operations officer of the Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, was quoted as saying.