COVID-19: Things to Consider for Your Back-to-School Checklist

Karly Hurley

| 3 min read

Little girl picking out school supplies with her mom, both wearing masks
Just like the upcoming school year, back-to-school shopping lists are going to look different for everyone. As local districts share plans for fall learning, families are preparing for a variety of scenarios. While some lists will include new backpacks and lunchboxes, others might be looking for headphones and electronics.
According to a recent survey by Deloitte, many parents are changing their purchasing behavior with the new realities of schooling. Forty percent of survey respondents said they are planning to buy fewer traditional back-to-school supplies this year as they invest in digital resources to supplement their children’s education.
Whatever school looks like for your family this year, here are a few tips to consider as you get started on back-to-school shopping.

Online Learning

While the springtime gave many families a taste of online learning and figuring out what works best, there may be a few more items you’ll want to add to your list if you’re embarking on full-time virtual learning that you haven’t considered:
  • Lap desk: Having a stable, portable work platform gives children the freedom to move around and work in a convenient, comfortable location
  • Tiered, rolling cart: From arts and crafts to school assignments, keeping everything organized will make life easier for everyone.
  • Headphones (with a microphone!): For ease in virtual learning, headsets are a must. They allow your child to hear instruction with more ease (and keep it quiet for the rest of the family).

Traditional Learning

For students returning to the classroom this fall, many standard supplies like notebooks, pencils, binders and more will still be essential, but there might be a few extra things to consider for your list this year:
  • Supplies that stand out: Being able to easily tell pencils and generic supplies apart from a neighbor’s, could help slow the spread of germs by avoiding mix ups. Think personalized pencils and pens with personality.
  • Mask accessories: For a return to in-person learning, masks are a given, but wearing one all day can be a lot, especially for young children. To make wearing a mask more comfortable, explore mask accessories, like extenders, which allow you to adjust the fit of standard masks while keeping the pressure of the straps off the ears.
  • Pocket hand sanitizer: Small, pocket-size hand sanitizers are essential for kids to have on-hand in the classroom to keep the germs at bay.
  • Stainless steel lunchboxes: Cloth lunchboxes may not be the best option this year for cleaning purposes. Instead, consider a stainless-steel lunchbox that can be cleaned in the dish-washer daily.

Some Supplies, Money Can’t Buy

Whether learning for your student will be virtual, in the classroom, or a combination of both, there are a few essential things to keep in mind that you won’t find while online shopping or browsing the store shelves.
  • Positivity: A good mindset is going to set the tone for the new school year. Remember your child is going through change and might feel uncertain at times. A positive outlook will help focus your child on what they can accomplish and reassure him or her that things will be okay.
  • Patience and understanding: For your child, teachers, administrators and yourself. No one has been through this before and everyone is trying to navigate the unknown. Patience and understanding will go a long way in having a successful start to the school year.
  • Flexibility: One thing that has been inevitable this year is change. Heading into the fall, more change is certain to be ahead. Going into the school year with a flexible approach is key.
  • Realistic expectations: Schedules, extracurricular activities and more just won’t be the same for the time-being and that’s okay. This is a season of life we’re all having to face together, but it will pass.
Photo credit: CasarsaGuru

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