HOUSTON – The tax-free weekend in Texas takes place Aug. 7-9, with taxes exempt on clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks priced less than $100, but this year the tradition of parents making the “mad dash” around the stores stocking up on supplies may be on pause, thanks to the coronavirus.

Texas Southern University alumna Dr. Lakeisha Menifee, affectionately known as “Dr. Kiki,” is advising parents to delay purchasing certain back to school items for at least six weeks, giving ourselves time to see how the schools will operate under new health and safety guidelines.

“Being that the majority of schools are online for the first six weeks of schools, buying the traditional backpacks and school clothing may not be the best thing to do until you grasp what is happening in your child’s school district. You may end up exchanging things that you don’t need after all.”

And when it comes to recreational sports, parents are wondering if they should allow their children to participate and, if so, how will the schools safeguard the students during practices and team sporting events.

Here are some tips to help parents provide for the road ahead:

1. Reconsider school supply priorities and purchases during the first 6 weeks of transition.  Keep in mind that you may need to spend money on extra equipment that interfaces with the technological platforms your child’s school will be using.  BUT REMEMBER…most school districts are supplying computers, tablets, etc. for students whose parents need the financial assistance.

2. Parents, teachers and policymakers should take a deep review of common respiratory issues such as asthma and sleep apnea, and how they could be impacted by the transitions into the school environment.  Communication with a specialist such as a Pulmonologist would render recommendations for homeschooling, FMLA, and EEOC as needed depending on the recommendations of the physician and the company and district policy.

3. Non-school based recreational activities that children participate in often require parents to sign a waiver of participation.  Ensure that participation in these recreational activities align with CDC guidelines and hold organization officials accountable for the safety and adherence to the use of face masks and social distancing.

There are several articles of this governance that have not officially been released to the public, hence the delayed start of many school districts in states such as Texas in order to contain the spread.  Use extreme caution, and avoid if possible, participation in such activities. Call your local city councilman and ask for the release the articles of governance surrounding the CDC guidelines for recreational activities, if needed.

Dr. Kiki holds a Doctor of Education Degree from Texas Southern University, a master’s degree from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. Dr. Kiki has been an education professional for 19 years in the areas of Science and Mathematics. She is currently the owner of the non-profit organization Abundance Educational Consulting (AEC) and the for-profit Stem Up Wit Dr. Kiki.