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Harlem Students Receive Donated Cardboard Desks For Remote Study

The lightweight desks made from corrugated cardboard are sturdy enough to support a student and their materials.

About 200 makeshift desks were distributed by the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. (Shutterstock)

HARLEM, NY — The Boys & Girls Club of Harlem is helping neighborhood students learn remotely by distributing makeshift workspaces made out of recyclable cardboard.

Two-hundred "corrugated desks" donated by the Paper and Packaging Board were distributed to students at the community nonprofit, according to a spokesperson for the board. The desks are lightweight but sturdy enough to hold all of a student's materials.

"I think there's an assumption that every child has an at-home set up with their own desk and school supplies. Unfortunately, that isn't the case," Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board, said in a statement.

"As so many are working to provide students without access to the tech needed for online learning, we're doing what we can to pair it with analog considerations like a dedicated workspace."

The Paper and Packaging Board also donated notebooks to go along with the desks. Creating a dedicated workspace can give students a sense of control over their studies, which may improve performance, according to a 2008 article published in the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

New York City's nearly 5,000 public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week. Decisions on summer school and the fall semester have not yet been made. City schools have been closed since March 15 and remote learning began for all grades K through 12 on March 23.

"For the students in our communities, being out of school is in no way a free ride. These are kids with big goals who want to keep learning, but many are finding it tough without the proper equipment," Dominique R. Jones, Executive Director Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, said in a statement.

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