Pittsburgh Public Schools hands out iPads Monday

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Public Schools handed out iPads Monday, after Saturday’s decision to push back the school start date after running out of laptops to give to students.

Parents started lining up early Monday outside of Pittsburgh Arsenal in Lawrenceville, as school officials say they are awaiting the arrival of upward of seven thousand devices this week.

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“It’s been stressful, but it is what it is,” said Michael Frank, parent of a student. “There’s nothing we can do. You don’t have a device... you don’t have one. You gotta make it work. So they are doing the best they can.”

PPS officials said the new start date is moved back a week to Sept. 8.

According to a release from the district, this decision is due to “unexpected delays caused by continued technology supply chain shortages across the country.”

Officials with Pittsburgh Public Schools guessed they’d be out of computers to give to students by 12:30 Saturday afternoon. They ran out around 10:30 a.m.

District officials posted on social media Saturday that they were having “supply chain issues” and urged people to “not come get a device if you have one available.”

The three biggest computer companies in the world— Lenovo, HP and Dell have told U.S. school districts they are experience a laptop shortage.

They are short nearly 5 million laptops because of supply chain disruptions and sanctions on China.

School leaders said they do expect another shipment of devices sometime in the next week. The additional distribution dates will be announced next week.

Theodore Dwyer, chief accountability officer for PPS, told Channel 11 the next shipments of laptops won’t be in time for the first day of school.

“Next week will have the first 6,000 of the ones we ordered in, and we have the remainder of the 7,000 coming in the week after that,” he said. “We’ve got enough ordered, it’s getting them in and getting them into people’s hands.”

You can read the full release from PPS below:

“Due to unexpected delays caused by continued technology supply chain shortages across the country, Pittsburgh Public Schools will adjust the school calendar to delay the start of E-Learning for all students PreK-12 to September 8, 2020. The District will continue to distribute devices to families as they arrive and announce distribution dates on a rolling basis so that all students have what they need the first day of school. Up to 7,000 devices are expected to arrive by the end of next week to fulfill outstanding need.

“Similar to school districts in our region, we must delay the start of school to ensure all students have the opportunity to fully participate in E-Learning,” said Superintendent Anthony Hamlet. “At this time the distribution of devices is only for those families of students who do not have access to a device. 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.”

School staff will utilize next week to create and refine lesson plans, review Individualized Education Plans of special education students, contact hard to reach families and participate in grade-level professional development. To support the delay of the start of school, the District will survey staff and families to identify which adjustments will be made to the District’s calendar. The District will work with school staff to ensure materials are in place for students should delays in devices continue beyond the start of school.

As of Thursday, August 27, the District has exchanged or distributed 6,440 of the devices ordered this past spring to students in need. On Friday and Saturday an additional 1,200 devices were distributed to students in grades 2-5. More than 1,800 students still have a device from last school year that will not work for E-Learning this year. These devices need exchanged for new devices so that the District can reimage the devices for redistribution to families in need. Device distribution is only for families who do not have a device at this time. Families that have access to a device at home are asked to use that device until remaining devices are received by late October. Compatible devices include personal desktop and laptop computers and tablets (iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc.). For information on how to use personal home devices to log into the District’s learning management system, families can visit www.pghschools.org/elearning.”

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