America’s K through 12 students are returning to classrooms this fall after 18 months of virtual learning at home. Some students who lacked the home internet connectivity needed to finish schoolwork during this time – an experience often called the “homework gap” – may continue to feel the effects this school year.

Around a third of parents with children whose schools were closed during the pandemic said that their child encountered at least one technology-related obstacle to completing their schoolwork during that time, according to an April 2021 Pew Research Center Survey.

Of the three obstacles asked about in the survey, parents with lower incomes were most likely to say that their child had to do their schoolwork on a cellphone (37%). About a quarter said their child was unable to complete their schoolwork because they did not have computer access at home or that they had to use public Wi-Fi because they did not have a reliable internet connection at home.

An increasing share of U.S. adults said that K through 12 schools have a responsibility to provide all students with laptop or tablet computers in order to help them complete their schoolwork at home during the pandemic.