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Concentrating on schoolwork while braving the wind and rain of a Santa Barbara winter is the latest circumstance students must adapt to in a pandemic world. 

As schools reopen, students find themselves being taught outdoors or in brisk classrooms, with windows and doors perpetually propped open for air circulation.

However, many do not have a jacket to buffer them from the chill of in-person learning. 

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A less-obvious challenge posed by the social distancing guidelines for in-person schooling, it did not go unnoticed by local elementary teachers, who reached out to the Santa Barbara Education Foundation in hopes of mobilizing a fundraiser for the issue. 

After hearing from teachers, the organization decided to dedicate the fundraising efforts of its Student Fund-a-Need campaign for jackets to be bought and distributed to in-need students throughout the district. 

The Fund-a-Need campaign was created by the Education Foundation last month with the purpose of addressing the most pressing needs of Santa Barbara Unified School District students. 

A warm jacket for distance learning more than fit the bill. 

“Over half of the students in the district come from lower-income families and are unable to afford new jackets,” said Eryn Shugart of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Shugart, who oversees the organization’s fundraising efforts as its Major Gifts Officer, said they hope to deliver the jackets before spring break, which begins on March 22. 

In terms of how many jackets will be distributed, Shugart says the foundation hopes to give a jacket to every student that needs one.

The campaign is currently accepting donations through the Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s website here and hopes to raise $22,000. 

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