Preparing for Back-to-School Time in this COVID-19 Environment

Households with school-age children are typically abuzz with preparations for a new school year beginning late July and early August. Talk of selecting new backpacks, school clothes and what supplies will be required fills the days leading up to the time when big yellow buses start traveling the road. Parents with children heading to college are usually busy buying necessities for dorm rooms or apartments and helping their student navigate schedules and other logistics for the upcoming year on campus.

Thanks to COVID-19, life as we know it looks different. Our world has changed in many ways, including what students need to bring and how they prepare for a new school year. Here is a checklist of things to purchase and precautions to discuss with your children so they will be prepared to head back to school in this COVID-19 environment.

Items to have on hand at school or in backpacks:

  • Face covering
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Personal package of tissues
  • Disinfectant wipes for desks and other frequently touched surfaces in the classroom and around school
  • Disinfectant wipes designed for electronic screens and phones
  • USB portable charger for phones and computer

Helpful items for remote learning should it be required:

  • Glasses to block blue light
  • Adjustable laptop stand
  • Noise-cancelling app or headphones
  • Dedicated desk area and comfortable, ergonomic chair with lower back pillow or support

Precautions for students to take:

  • Maintain a social distance of at least six feet from other people whenever it is possible
  • Avoid crowded spaces and consider alternate, less congested routes to take when changing classes
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds (the length of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song) after touching surfaces that other people have been in contact with
  • Try to avoid touching elevator buttons and door handles, instead press buttons or open doors with elbows or while holding a tissue
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or says they do not feel well
  • Wear a face covering at all times while in the classroom and traveling around campus
  • Select a place to eat lunch that allows students to maintain a safe social distance
  • Remind students to not share items like school supplies, food items or drinks
  • If your student feels sick, encourage him/her to go home or stay home if it is prior to the school day beginning

Without a doubt, managing life during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. The key to a successful school year, under all circumstances, is preparation. Take recommended steps with purchases and actions to stay safe and healthy, and your student will be ready for a great school year, even during a pandemic.