Back-to-school supply list for the pandemic

Needs are different from usual this year

back to school, supplies, pandemic, remote learning

If school has already started then this article is just a refresher. For whose kids are preparing to start school soon, this article offers some handy suggestions as you continue to plan.

All kids will need the staple back-to-school itemspens, pencils, crayons, markers, paper, erasers and scissors—but the need for keeping everything clean and safe makes further purchases vital.

School teacher Ashley Fry suggests kids who are returning to school keep the above items in a washable pouch. The pouch will ensure each child has all the tools they need, given that sharing and borrowing won't be an option during the pandemic.

Kids attending school will need hand sanitizer and face coverings, useful at this point for anyone going anywhere. Fry recommends acquiring 10 to 15 masks, since kids may want to change masks during the day as they become dirty or sweaty, and parents may not want to wash masks every night. Attach lanyards or cords to keep masks handy as social distances shift and to prevent them from falling on the floor.

You hopefully have a wifi router already, but a Pew Research Center survey found that one in five households do not have reliable Internet service. Forty percent of low-income families said their children would be relying on public wifi. If your school district is one of those supplying wifi hotspots to low-income families, be sure to apply for one if you qualify.

Second grade teacher Lori Lyn said it's important for each child to have their own device for accessing the Internet. Kindles, smartphones, and many tablets don't have sufficient computing power for successful remote learning. Some school districts are supplying individual devices for families that can't afford to buy them.

Headphones are another necessity for at-home learning, so kids can concentrate when other family members are present. Even inexpensive headphones will help block out distractions and allow students to listen to instructions without distracting others. Ideally, children learning from home should have their own space and their own desk, with will be help them focus.

With the assortment of household needs—remote learning, hybrid learning, afterschool plans, parents' work—some families find it valuable to have a whiteboard or flip-chart to lay out everyone's schedule for the day.

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