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What you need to know about shopping for school supplies this year

HOUSTON – Back to school shopping should be in full swing right now but the coronavirus has everyone wondering what school will look like this fall and what supplies will actually be needed.

Supplies you need for virtual learning

Some schools are distributing virtual school supply lists and separate lists for when students go back to the classroom. Third grade Sheldon ISD teacher Esther Burchert says she is telling her students’ parents to keep it simple in the beginning.

"For right now that we're virtual, I'm just telling parents to get the basics... you know, colored pencils, crayons, pencils, glue sticks.. those kinds of things," she said.

A recent survey by Deloitte Consulting shows families are spending more this year because they are buying computers and iPads for virtual classes. Sales of traditional school supplies are down 12%.

Houston ISD is asking families to wait until August 10 for more guidance from the district.

Will school supplies still be available when you need them?

Some teachers say it’s best to get the supplies your child will need now while they are in stock and on sale. Retailers generally change out seasonal merchandise by the end of September and it may be difficult to find everything your child will need at that time.

What’s different this year?

HISD will not require school uniforms for the entire 2020-2021 school year.

When students do physically go back to class, they will no longer share their supplies as they have in the past.

“It’s really important that parents get what’s going to be on the school list because those are the things that are going to be exclusively used by the children themselves,” explained Burchert. “We are not using community supplies anymore.”

Don’t forget Texas’ Tax-Free weekend

With everything going on, you may have forgotten about Texas’ tax-free weekend. It is August 7-9. That is when school supplies and clothes and most items under $100 sold in stores and online are tax-free.