At the time I’m writing these words, my son is slated to return to school full time in early September, coronavirus cases being at a low enough level for government and health officials here in the State of New York to deem it safe for schools to open. Granted, his school has plans in place to switch to remote learning in the space of a single day, but as of now, it’s back to school in 2020.
That said, going back to school in the fall of 2020 is going to look quite different than it did in 2019. Or 2018. Or any other year in recent memory. With COVID-19 still rampant across much of the country, and with flare-ups a possibility anywhere, a safe in-school experience means new protocols, different use of facilities, an extreme focus on cleanliness, and a new checklist of gear stashed in every kid’s backpack.
To that end, and with our son’s school’s plans for social distancing in classrooms, hand-washing stations, one-way halls, use of outdoor space, and all the rest of the new plans in mind, my wife and I will send our kid off to school this fall with a few things in his backpack that weren’t there in 2019, and some of which would have looked downright odd in any pre-pandemic year.
Here are the five things kids should bring with them when they go back to school during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Blue Lightning Kids Face Mask With Nose Shape
Face masks are proven to reduce the chances of spreading or contracting COVID-19, and are mandatory in most parts of the country right now, schools very much included. When choosing a face mask for a kid, you need to make sure it is sized appropriately for their smaller faces and that the ear loops can be adjusted to ensure a secure fit. And your kid needs at least two masks each day in case one is lost, dirtied, or damaged, so unless you do laundry every evening, you probably need at least four or five reusable face masks for kids on hand. We’ve chosen SLEEFS face masks because they’re a perfect size for our almost seven-year-old, they are easy to adjust for a good fit, and they come in myriad colors and prints.
The Honest Company "Keepin' It Clean" Alcohol Wipes
Yes, hand sanitizer is all the rage these days (remember back in the spring when you couldn’t even find a bottle of the stuff?) but when it comes to kids, using a hand sanitizer gel or spray properly can be tricky. As we’re trying to minimize contact with others, rather than sending our kid with a hand sanitizer he might need help to use properly, we’re opting for hand sanitizer wipes as they make it easier for kids to actually clean their entire hands. The Honest Company is now offering wipes infused with a solution that’s 65% alcohol while PalmPalm offers 70% alcohol wipes (thus both surpassing the 60% ethanol content recommended by health officials).
CamelBak Eddy Kids BPA Free Water Bottle
Water fountains are going to be off-limits at many schools this year, so it’s imperative your child has a water bottle with them for hydration. This water bottle from water delivery system experts CamelBak is my recommendation and also has more than 11,000 five-star Amazon ratings at present. It’s reliably leak-proof and easy for kids to open, and the soft tip won’t hurt teeth. The water bottle has a 13.5-ounc capacity, enough to quench thirst after recess and for sips during lunch and snacks.
Back To School Supply Box Grades K-5
Of course schools are still going to provide most of the supplies kids need, but you can help minimize how often your kid needs to approach a teacher or supply storage area by sending him in with the basics in the backpack. Our son will have a ready supply of sharpened pencils, erasers, his own scissors, and some art basics, along with a couple of composition notebooks (and some loose-leaf paper for drawing) so only specialized activities will require him to use materials provided by the school.
Kleenex On-The-Go Facial Tissue
Even healthy people sneeze often enough, and to help your kid stay healthy, make sure he or she has their own supply of tissues on hand so they don’t have to go to a communal tissue box. This will reduce the chance of getting any germs left on the tissues by someone who is sick, be it with COVID-19, the common cold, or any other communicable disease. These Kleenex tissue packs make it easy to draw out a single tissue at a time, but make sure you open the packet for your kid at home, as getting the plastic open the first time can be oddly hard to do.
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