Teachers preparing for extra school supply needs ahead of back-to-school shopping

Education

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This year, school supply lists may look a lot different than in years past. Usually around this time, Angelica Vasquez is getting her first-grade classroom ready at McCollum Elementary.

“Usually now I’m preparing my unit and getting ready for the year, kind of seeing who my new students are,” said Vasquez. “Now, we don’t even know what it’s going to look like. I don’t even know what kids I’m going to have, what days I’m going to have them on. We’re going to be wearing masks all day.”

She says while they await final plans from the district, parents should prepare ahead of time. Many classrooms will not be sharing pencils, rulers, paper and other supplies anymore.

“I haven’t seen a list yet, but they probably will because kids are going to need their own special supplies, their own things and their own desk,” said Vasquez. “I usually keep their books in little bins by their desks in their groups, but now they’re just going to have to keep them at their own personal space.”

Elizabeth Schneider, a fifth-grade special education teacher at Collett Park Elementary, says another big need on the list this year: antibacterial supplies. She tries to stock up whenever she goes to the store, but will still need help.

“I am definitely stocking up every time I go to the store, if there’s any cleaning supplies, bleach, Mr. Clean erasers, Clorox wipes of course, tissues, hand sanitizer, soap. I’m really just trying to bulk up on that in case we go back in the classroom,” said Schneider. “We go to the store right now and their shelves are still empty. I can get maybe one or two things if I’m lucky when I’m at the store, I can’t imagine when everyone starts to go back to school. There’s not going to be anything. Make sure your kids at least have tissue, Clorox, soap, hand sanitizer.”

She says even if there’s a hybrid schedule with some days online, teachers are preparing just in case. Vasquez encourages parents to stock up if they’re able, or let their teachers know if there are any supplies they’re unable to get.

“Stock up because we’re going to need them because they run out and we’re not going to be able to share like we usually did,” said Vasquez. “If you can’t please reach out to your teacher because they are more than willing to get it.”

Los Lunas Schools says their re-entry plan is still being finalized. Families will likely need to prepare for a hybrid of remote learning and in-person lessons. Elementary and middle school students will receive an iPad and high school students will receive a MacBook to help with remote learning. The district says school uniforms will not be required this year but should look to their schools for any dress code information. They also say some teachers will consider face shields instead of masks, as well as the possibility of eating lunch in the classroom, rather than a lunchroom.

Los Lunas Schools issued the following statement:

“Los Lunas Schools has assigned three task forces to ensure the safety of our students. One for elementary students (K-6th grade), one for secondary (7th-12th grade) and operational, which includes student nutrition, transportation, as well as safety and security. Our families can be assured that the district is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our children.”

“With all the COVID, it’s not the same,” said Schneider. “We’re getting ready, I’m personally getting ready to start school even if we’re in the class online.”

Albuquerque Public Schools tell us they’re still in the planning stages for the school year and supply lists. New Mexico Tax Free Weekend — when many buy their supplies — is still happening this year, Aug. 7-9.

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