Now in its 21st year, the event has provided school supplies to thousands of families from Lubbock and the South Plains.
For the past two decades, Texas Tech University has hosted the Back to School Fiesta. Every August, the one-day event serves thousands of K-12 students and their families from Lubbock and the South Plains, providing educational information on topics ranging from college admissions and child care resources to financial aid, health, wellness and nutrition. Students also receive a backpack full of free school supplies at the event.
This year, the 21st annual fiesta will be from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 1 in the Commuter West parking lot west of the United Supermarkets Arena. The event, led and supported by College Connect, the Office of the President and the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, will look a bit different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"The Back to School Fiesta will be a drive-thru event," said Mary Harris, College Connect program manager. "We will have contactless delivery of school supplies and are including an 8-count package of multicultural crayons along with the traditional 24-count box."
In past years, event partners have attended the fiesta and staffed booths where they distributed information and promotional items and interacted with attendees through games and discussions. This year, partners have been asked to provide items in advance of the event. A limited number of Texas Tech employees will staff the fiesta, with extra precautions taken to promote the health and safety of all involved.
Those who wish to attend the Back to School Fiesta are asked to register online before the day of the event. After registering, they will receive an electronic code to be scanned upon arrival at the event. Those unable to complete early registration can be registered by a staff member when they arrive at the event. School supply distribution is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so early arrival is strongly encouraged.
On the day of the event, attendees will enter the parking lot at the far west entrance off Texas Tech Parkway and follow directions to two drive-thru stations where staff will distribute school supplies through vehicle windows. Attendees are asked to stay in their vehicles at all times. A walk-up station will be available for those who cannot bring a vehicle.
"As safety measures continue to evolve during the ongoing pandemic, we are making every effort to protect the health and well-being of employees, students and visitors to campus," said Ariana Hernandez, College Connect assistant director. "At the same time, we also want to share as much of the Texas Tech experience as possible with our community. Hosting the annual Back to School Fiesta is one of the ways we can do that. It might look different this year, but we encourage people to attend the event and engage with the Red Raider community in a fun, safe and healthy way."
All staff at the event will be required to wear gloves and face masks as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attendees who utilize the walk-up station will be required to maintain at least 6-foot distance, per social distancing guidelines, and will be provided a face mask if they do not have one. Hand sanitizer will be available at the walk-up station.
All attendees are required to adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols as directed by Texas Tech staff, including but not limited to the wearing of facial coverings when social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.
For more information, contact College Connect at (806) 742-2420 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.