Will it be back-to-school or school-at-home during COVID-19? Data from 2-1-1 helplines suggest many parents have already chosen. One of the most reliable patterns in all 2-1-1 data is that requests for clothing spike each year in July and August as families seek back-to-school clothing for growing kids. But this year, not so much. At least through July, the annual peak in clothing requests hasn’t happened. We examined 65,435 clothing requests to 2-1-1s in 29 states over a 6-year period, comparing the average number of daily requests received between March 15 and July 25, the period of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (upper chart). From 2015 to 2019 (blue in chart), a clear increase is evident during July. There is no perceptible increase in 2020 (orange in chart). Using the same analytic approach, we also examined 9,608 requests to 2-1-1s for school supplies (lower chart) and found a similar pattern. Combined, these findings demonstrate yet another way that typical back-to-school routines have been disrupted by COVID-19. We will continue following school-related requests into August. States included in analyses were AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, WI, WY.
Contributors: Cindy Charles, Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Matthew Kreuter