As Hewlett-Packard Can’t Deliver Computers On Time, Cleveland School District Sent Scrambling To Find 9,000 New Laptops In Two Weeks

As Hewlett-Packard Can’t Deliver Computers on Time, Cleveland School District Sent Scrambling to Find 9,000 New Laptops in Two Weeks

In just two weeks, the Cleveland school district is set to begin the fall semester with online classes. However, a major setback occurred when the district was informed by Hewlett-Packard Company that they would not be able to provide laptops to all students in time for the start of the academic year.

Hewlett-Packard had initially committed to supplying 9,000 laptops by September 8, the first day of school. However, they reneged on their promise, leaving the school district in a state of urgency as they scramble to find alternative computers for their students.

In a letter to Hewlett-Packard, district administrator Diana Ehlert expressed her frustration, stating that the company had assured them they would receive the devices. Now, with the start of classes just around the corner, the district is left scrambling to find other options.

The district had placed a $4.7 million order for the laptops, but had to cancel it when Hewlett-Packard informed them that the devices would not be available until October. This would have meant that thousands of students would be without computers for at least a month. The exact number of students who will be affected is still unclear, as is the number of students who will have to resort to using old devices or sharing devices with family members.

Similar delays in obtaining laptops and other devices are occurring across the country as schools transition to online learning due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The increased demand for internet devices has surpassed the manufacturing capacity of companies like Hewlett-Packard, with demand estimated to be ten times higher than usual.

Various school districts, including Denver, North Carolina, and several in California, have reported similar delays. Some of these holdups are connected to the sanctioning of Chinese companies involved in the manufacturing of parts for these devices, due to alleged human rights violations.

In Cleveland, the need for devices is particularly critical, as 44 percent of homes do not have broadband internet access beyond cell phone data. According to U.S. Census data and a 2018 study, Cleveland is the fourth-worst-connected city in the nation.

The district claims that their order was delayed due to larger orders being placed in Texas and Mississippi. However, Hewlett-Packard denies prioritizing other orders ahead of Cleveland’s.

Todd Gustafson, the head of Hewlett-Packard’s sales to the public sector, attributed the delay to an overwhelming influx of orders. He acknowledged the rapidly evolving supply chain situation as school districts nationwide face similar challenges.

Cleveland Municipal School District CEO Eric Gordon had aimed to provide every student with their own device at the start of the school year. The district estimated that they needed approximately 36,000 devices for all students, with 14,000 already in possession or with students during the summer. They had ordered an additional 27,000 devices, of which over 15,000 have arrived so far.

However, to meet their goal, they still require more than 11,000 devices. Some are already on order, while the district is now placing new orders to compensate for Hewlett-Packard’s failure.

The district began distributing devices to students last week in schools that operate year-round and have already begun online classes. Distribution to all other district schools is ongoing.

In addition to providing devices, the district is also working on securing internet access for students through hotspots or with the help of Digital C, a local nonprofit organization partnering with the district to make Wi-Fi accessible as a public utility.

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  • rowenvasquez

    Rowen Vasquez is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. She has been writing about education for more than 10 years and has developed a following of educators and parents across the globe. Her writing is engaging and informative, and she often uses her blog to share her experiences working in the classroom.