WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The smoke wafting from the direction of a North Carolina boy participating in remote learning was not coming from his ears. It was rising from his laptop.
A woman said her son’s Chromebook began to smoke and spark while he was using it in a Zoom class, WXII-TV reported.
The woman said her son was using headphones with a cord plugged into the school-issued Chromebook when he yanked them off and ran out of the room, the television station reported. That caused the laptop to fall from his desk and onto the carpet, leaving burn marks.
In an email to parents, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools warned that Chromebooks should never be left plugged in and unsupervised for long periods of time, especially overnight, WXII reported. The Chromebooks contain lithium-based rechargeable batteries. They can be hazardous and could cause a fire if they are damaged, defective or improperly used, the television station reported.
“Never leave Chromebooks plugged in and unsupervised for long periods of time, like overnight,” a spokesperson for the school system wrote on the system’s Facebook page. “Also, it is best to always use the devices on surfaces that allow for proper ventilation like a desk or table. Prolonged charging and limited ventilation can damage the battery, the operating systems and cause the machine to shut down completely.”
School district officials said they have handed out about 40,000 Chromebooks, and this is the only incident they have heard about so far this year.
It is not the first time a student’s Chromebook has caught fire.
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