A different kind of back to school shopping for remote learning

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — The rush for school supplies is going to look a little different this year as parents and teachers figure out what their students will need when remote learning starts Aug. 17.

Days away from the start of the school year, mom Becky Renteria is already stocking up on supplies. Her son will start fifth grade at Pearce Elementary from his computer screen.

“For me, when I looked at school supplies and the fact that we don’t have a school supply list, I kind of tried to think about, ‘Well, when I’m working from home what are the supplies that I go through?’” Renteria said.

The anticipation about what to expect as the days tick by is frustrating.

“There’s no other choice as a parent,” Renteria stated.

Tahjma VanBuren, with the Guilford Education Alliance, understands the frustration and uncertainty.

“Public education is a hot topic and a lot of people don’t know what to do. They don’t know what exactly is coming up,” VanBuren said.

She oversees the Teacher Supply Warehouse, which provides a way for teachers and families to get school supplies and technology at no cost.

“We’re having to rethink what supplies are actually necessary,” VanBuren said.

As of right now, teachers are still figuring that out as they form their online lesson plans.

The Supply Warehouse operates on donations and without a list, they’re having to guess.

“A lot of students are printing things out, a lot of teachers are printing things out,” VanBuren said.

Printer paper, a ton of markers and lots of pencils — students won’t be sharing supplies like in the past.

“Where you would put down a 24-pack of crayons for a group of 30 students, you can basically no longer do that,” VanBuren said.

The Education Alliance is trying to anticipate what teachers may need so they’ll be stocked up and ready to help.

“We’re working with a lot of things that we’ve never worked with before,” VanBuren said.

Renteria has taken advantage of online deals and has ordered what she thinks her son will need before the supply rush begins next week.

“You just don’t know. You don’t know what the outcome it going to be,” Renteria said.

Like schools, the Guilford Education Alliance will also be going virtual this fall. Teachers can request supplies online and pick them up at their assigned locations. GCS students should receive supply lists and teacher assignments next week.

Supply donations to the Warehouse can be made online via GEA’s Amazon Wishlist. Donations by check can be mailed to GEA at 311 Pomona Drive, Suite E  Greensboro, NC 27407 or online at www.GEANC.org/donate

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