Matt Dodge, a member of the DPS department of tech services, hands computers to each family waiting in a long line of cars on April 8, 2020, in Denver. Denver Public School officials were on hand to check out some 160 computers to K-12 students on a first-come first-served basis at 12 DPS locations, including Abraham Lincoln High School. (Kathryn Scott. Special to The Colorado Sun)

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Five days from starting a new school year online, the Denver district has a computer shortage.

Denver Public Schools ordered 12,500 computers but not all of them have arrived, spokesperson Winna MacLaren said. The district serves about 92,000 students.


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District officials on Wednesday cited a nationwide device shortage caused by global supply chain issues. Denver experienced similar shipping delays in the spring, when rising COVID-19 cases caused schools to abruptly shift learning online. Other Colorado districts have also reported long delays in obtaining laptops, with some shipments not expected until 2021.

School is scheduled to start again in Denver on Monday. Classes will be conducted virtually until at least mid-October, when the district will assess whether it’s safe to reopen campuses.

To address the computer shortage, the district is asking that families who already have a personal device at home not request one from their child’s school. Families who have both a personal device and a school-issued device are being asked to return the school-issued device so it can be redistributed to a student who doesn’t have one.

The district is also sharing information about where and how families can purchase a device of their own — more specifically, a Chromebook with at least 4GB of memory.


Melanie Asmar, Chalkbeat

Senior Reporter — Chalkbeat Colorado Email: