NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – Students are getting ready to go back to school, and parents are scrambling to buy uniforms after a year and a half of distance or blended learning.
The Flynn O’Hara school uniform store is pretty much the hottest place in town these days.
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The queue on Tuesday ended and circled the block with up to six hours of waiting.
“I’m hungry. I’m tired,” said Monica Perez, of the Bronx.
“I just wish it could go faster,” said one child.
One day at 90 degrees, it was downright dangerous.
“There’s also someone who passed out on the line,” parent Diamond Jackson told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
The store sells uniforms for 150 different charter and parish schools in New York City.
“The school in particular, it just comes out of this store,” said one parent.
The store manager says the queue has been like this almost every day this month, and he expects next week to be even worse.
“Last year a lot of schools weren’t in uniform, so now it’s been about two years since kids haven’t worn uniforms,” said district director Anthony Algieri.
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Perez waited as long as possible to buy his daughter a new uniform because she believed the Delta variant might force them back to distance learning.
“I need the uniform, the sports clothes, the shirt,” she said.
“There’s also a labor shortage in Pennsylvania, in our warehouses, so that doesn’t help either,” Algieri said.
The pandemic has also resulted in a shortage of teachers nationwide.
A survey found that 75% of school districts did not have enough teachers by September.
Fortunately, this does not include New York, where the vacancy rate is 2%.
On Long Island, however, Nassau County school bus drivers are scarce.
“We’re definitely in a code red,” said Marc Medina, president of the Nassau County chapter of the New York City Association for Student Transportation. “Some operations are 20 to 30% short of drivers right now. “
Back in the Bronx, parents who didn’t come home Tuesday will have to come back early Wednesday morning.
“You can order online, but it’s 21 days,” said one woman.
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The Archdiocese of New York has told CBS2 families who cannot get a uniform in time to contact their principal.