By Kristine Lazar

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With many schools back in session, some parents are scrambling to get their kids the devices they need amid a nationwide shortage of Chromebooks and laptops.

Ian Sherr, editor at large at CNET News, says pretty much every laptop you want to buy right now is hard to get a hold of.

“The supply chain where all the parts come together to make these devices was really hammered by the coronavirus,” he said.

And with most schools learning remotely, demand is unprecedented.

“A lot of the demand is on the cheaper side, so we are seeing that Chromebooks are so popular because they are generally cheaper,” said Sherr.

Even if an item is in stock, delivery dates can be weeks, if not months out. So what’s a desperate family to do?

CNET has compiled a user-friendly list of what’s currently in stock and ready to ship.

The list is updated at least every two days, and it tells what you should be paying for the device, so you don’t get price-gouged.

Another option: check out the secondary market on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist.

“The tough part is making sure that you know this device is working, because one of struggles is there usually isn’t a warranty attached to it,” Sherr said. “But with a lot of these laptops, they are going to give you good deals, like zero percent for 12 months or something like that.”

So how long will this device shortage last?

Most analysts say they don’t expect it to continue for too much longer, as at some point it will calm down when all of us have the devices we need.

But if you’re waiting on a device and the delivery date keeps getting pushed back, there isn’t a lot you can do other than cancel your order. LAUSD is still distributing devices to its students.

And Sherr says its always a good idea to check your neighborhood groups, local churches and nonprofits, which may be willing to let you borrow a device.

Kristine Lazar

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