LUTHERVILLE-TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — Back to school is not only looking different for schools because of virtual learning, but also for retailers who normally see a great deal of spending this time of year.

Many are having to shift how they do business now as well as changing up their school supply drives for those in need.

“It’s a different world right now, right? Instead of going back to school, [students] are going back to Zoom,” Dave Flury, General Manager of Wee Chic, said.

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Wee Chic in Lutherville-Timonium isn’t seeing it’s normal business that it’s used to in late August right before the start of school.

“It’s kind of a different in terms of what we’re looking at,” Flury said. “So in terms of clothing, much more casual, comfy clothing as opposed to more formal clothing, just because people are home.”

Flury said he has had to change his store’s focus this year since most students aren’t going back to class in-person.

Instead of stocking up on backpacks and lunch boxes, he’s bought more toys and activities that are better suited for virtual learning.

He’s also had to shift his annual school supply drive’s focus from collecting pens, pencils and notebook to tablets and laptops.

“With so many students who are learning online as opposed to in the classroom, we thought it would be a great opportunity to be able to help lower income families get a device into their home,” Flury said.

The store is working with the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition that was formed earlier this year to get more families digital access during the pandemic.

They’re hoping to collect 2,000 devices across the Baltimore area for lower income students.

“Having a device for a young person, an elementary, middle, high schooler… is essential,” Andrew Coy, of the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition, said.

Laptops, Chromebooks, iPads and other tablets are being accepted at collection boxes at Wee Chic and will be refurbished before being given out to students.

“Kids are going to fall behind if they don’t have access to the tools for learning, and we have an obligation as a society to sort of help and educate the next generation,” Coy said.

They’re accepting both new and used computers and tablets at their stores. For more information, please click here. 

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller

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