School Supplies in the Time of COVID-19
After a spring and summer of strange new realities caused by COVID-19, the general public hoped things could go back to normal when school resumed in the fall. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Schools, like everyone else, are working to adapt.
Since schools closed around the country earlier this year, administrators nationwide have been scurrying to put plans in place to continue educating our children. Now, with a few months behind us, the summer break nearly over, and slightly more clarity about the virus, more concrete plans are taking form.
New School Models
There’s no denying that schools are likely to look very different when everyone returns in the fall. Depending on where a student goes to school, attendance could in-person, virtual, or a hybrid of both.
In many states, like Michigan, “the plan” varies by district.
In general, it seems like most schools are gearing up for the possibility of at least some instruction being completed remotely. What will that do to this year’s school supply list?
Supplies for Traditional Learning
If your kids are going back to classroom, you have a good idea of what will be on their supply list. You can expect many of the ‘staples,’ such as:
- Pencils, pens, paper
- Colored pencils
- Crayons, markers
- Scissors, glue sticks
- Notebooks, composition books
- Spill-proof water bottle
But be ready for some new additions to that list if your children are returning to school in the fall:
- Face masks
- Lanyards for face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant wipes
Supplies for Virtual Learning
But what if your kids are learning from home this year? You’re still going to need traditional supplies and face masks for any outings, but here are some items that will be important if your kids are staying home this year.
One of the first things that you may need to think about now is your Internet access. If you have more than one child that will need to access the Internet at the same time for school, then this may cause problems if you have unreliable service. You and your spouse may also be working from home.
That means everyone could potentially be on a video call at the same time. Do you have the bandwidth for that to go smoothly?
If not, you may need to upgrade your Internet. If possible, consider fiber packages with 1gb download speed in order to make sure everyone can be online at the same time.
Another factor to consider would be the workspaces available in your home and how you will all work together. It would be ideal to have separate workspaces for each person, if your home allows for it.
Unfortunately, some people may need to create workspaces for their children in their bedrooms, despite the abundance of information on how screens in bedrooms are not great. However, if you have no other choice, then it may be worth trying to restrict access on the internet. Tools like Bitdefender Parental Control software can help with that.
Sitting down to work can be uncomfortable if you don’t sit right and, while it might pose more of a problem for adults, it is also important that your child is comfortable and sits with good posture. The SiteRite Kids Desk Chair could be a good option.
Of course, some children are a little more active – in which case, the Gaiam balance ball chair might be better. It allows for bouncing, but also good posture.
An Ergonomic Desk
A good desk is just as important so that they can be at the right level for writing and computer access. Desks like the Vivo Desk or the Jerry & Maggie Compact Kids Desk are both good options.
Earphones and Earbuds
Children are likely to need to listen to lessons or watch educational videos or play educational apps. If you need to work or have children doing different things at the same time then some earphones or earbuds would be a worthwhile investment (for them and for you!).
The Pacrate gaming headset or the Nubwo gaming headset are both good options. This could also be good for when they have to do Zoom calls and talk to their teachers or peers.
A Paper Wall Calendar
A wall calendar may sound…outdated. But tracking timetables and what work, and deadlines is easier for kids if they are in full view and keeping them on track is easier if those dates and deadlines are out in the open rather than on a device.
Everything might be digital, but that doesn’t mean all activities can be done online. You may need to print things out so make sure your printer is ready.
Hint: A wireless printer means everyone can connect to and use the printer when needed, making it a good investment for the whole family.
Notebooks and Paper
Even though most things are digital now, many kids still work best with a simple pen and paper. On top of that, it’s much harder to make their way to distracting apps when they’re using a plain notebook. You can get them in bulk from Amazon.
A Computer or Tablet
Your kid might already have their own tablet and if they don’t, you might be on the fence about getting them one. But, many schools now require it so it’s going to be something you’ll need to consider. The rules surrounding the device will be your own, but if your kids are taking on virtual learning, the choice of whether to get them one might be made for you.
If you’re like most parents, you’re watching what your school district says closely. Regardless of the route your district takes, be prepared. Stock up on disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, and be prepared for kids’ complete and total lack of adherence to the best-conceived policies:
In all seriousness, we all want to keep our kids safe without sacrificing their education. If you’re taking advantage of a hybrid model where they are in school part of the week and home for the other part, make sure you’re leaving germs at the door. Keep hand sanitizer and extra facemasks in the car and have kids put their school shoes in a ShoeSling® when they get home, so they don’t track germs into the house. Leave them in the ShoeSling® until the next time they need them to make sure germs have a chance to fade. This is an added bonus for students in the snowy winter! Now your child can carry shoes safely on the outside of their back pack!!
There’s still a lot we don’t know about what’s going to happen in the fall, despite everyone’s best efforts to plan. But, being prepared for a hybrid model of education will give your child the best chance for success!!