Queens Borough Hall hosts school supply drive collecting backpacks and supplies for children in need

Back to school supplies drive
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As the new school year approaches, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is hosting a school supply drive to provide children with the tools they need to thrive in the classroom. 

The school supply drive began Monday, Aug. 16, and will run through Wednesday, Sept. 1. Residents can donate new backpacks and other school supplies at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. 

As New York City public schools prepare to reopen fully and safely this September after a challenging year and a half during the COVID-19 pandemic, Richards said the pandemic’s toll on Queens’ families has been “extraordinarily rough,” especially those with school-age children who had to shift from in-person learning to remote learning as they struggled to continue their education. 

Amid the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic, Richards said he hopes the backpack and school supply donation drive will “make life a little easier for many hardworking families” to get the upcoming school year off to a great start. 

This year’s donations for the upcoming school year can be dropped off in a box located on the first floor of Borough Hall next to the security desk in the lobby, which is just inside the building’s main entrance on Queens Boulevard. The lobby is open 24 hours a day.

Other supplies needed include No. 2 pencils, pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, crayons, pens, colored pencils, washable markers, Elmer’s glue, glue sticks, composition notebooks, 1.5-inch and 1-inch binders, ruled paper, safety scissors, rulers, pocket folders and scientific calculators.

While families don’t have to worry about accessing school supplies for their children, they are facing uncertainty this school year as New York state officials announced they would not issue health and safety guidelines for schools reopening next month. Local school districts will instead be responsible for creating a reopening plan. 

As the city continues to grapple with the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, lagging vaccination rates, and has imposed a vaccine mandate for employees and customers for indoor venues beginning Monday, Aug. 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio is also requiring teachers to get vaccinated by the time school reopens in September, or be tested weekly. 

Eligible students can also get vaccinated against COVID before classes are set to resume on Sept. 13, with no options for remote learning. 

According to the mayor, there is no “full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back, sitting in those classrooms, kids learning again.”

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