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Back-to-school checklist

Last Modified: August 10, 2020

Family Medicine, Safety & Prevention

back to school checklist

As summer comes to an end and schools begin to reopen for the fall semester, parents and caregivers are wondering about school supplies and what their students might need for the year during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve created a back-to-school checklist for students participating in either classroom instruction or remote learning to help families arm their children with the supplies they need for the safest, most enriching experience possible. Join us as we explore the many facets of back-to-school shopping and the best ways to prepare your family while empowering your children and setting everyone up for success as we all begin a new school year during a time of uncertainty.

Onsite instruction
  • Face coverings/mask

A new item on everyone’s supply list this year is a mask. In the wake of COVID-19, it’s a good idea to have all students bring at least one or two spares with them to school daily incase their mask gets dirty or breaks. And while many students may not be thrilled about wearing a face covering to school, it’s important they understand why they must do it. To help them feel a little more in control try letting them choose their masks from any one of these sites: Amazon, Masqd, Vistaprint, Etsy, Crayola, and more. You could also purchase blank masks in bulk and let your littles decorate or personalize them for school. The possibilities are endless!

  • Personalized mask lanyards

These personalized face mask lanyards from Etsy are inexpensive, lightweight, colorful, and will make wearing a mask at school just a little bit more fun for everyone. Not to mention, help your kiddos keep their face coverings clean and off the floor.

  • Hand sanitizer

Washing hands in the middle of class isn’t always an option. Having a personal hand sanitizer can make the task that much easier for students. Make it fun by letting your littles choose their silicone keychain. These mini hand sanitizer containers allow you to fill them with your preferred sanitizer then attach to your child’s lunch bag or backpack.

  • Disinfecting wipes

Your child is going to come across at least a dozen high touch surfaces during the day. From desks, tabletops, doorknobs, handles and chairs to computers, keyboards, and phones, that’s why it’s never a bad idea to include travel size disinfecting wipes in their backpack so they’re always prepared. It’s also a good idea to send a full-size container or two into your child’s teacher for classroom use.

disinfecting wipes

  • Tissue

If your child has a cold, please do not send them to school. However, if they, like so many suffer from seasonal allergies, a personal stash of tissues could save the day and spare them from having to use the publicly shared box. Travel size tissues may also come in handy for several situations especially if your child is trying to avoid touching your eyes, mouth, nose, or a high touch surface.

  • Bring your own school supplies

Many schools will not be providing communal supplies of basics like pencils, pens, highlighters and more this year due to COVID-19 and in hopes of not spreading the virus. So, stocking up on the essentials this fall is a must. Be sure to save yourself some time and money by purchasing a school supplies bundle of these classroom basics.

  • Water bottle

It’s no surprise that many schools are turning their water fountains off this year as a preventative measure in hopes of minimizing the spread of any germs or viruses like COVID-19. With fountains no longer an option, be prepared and send your student to school with a durable, insulated water bottler. There are several options out there even ones that come with fun, waterproof personalization stickers.

  • Disposable lunch bags

Your child’s lunchtime at school may look very different in the wake of COVID-19. Many school cafeterias may have limited food selections while others could be faced with long social distancing lines students must wait in before grabbing their food. Depending on the circumstances a packed lunch may be the perfect solution. Try these fun disposable lunch bags and sandwich wrappers to spice things up or go one step further and let your littles decorate these disposable lunch boxes.

  • Personalized labels

With everything your child is bringing to school, it’s important to put their name on everything. Try these personalized, waterproof labels for your child’s water bottles, school supplies, lunches, backpacks, coats and more.

Remote or e-learning
  • Workspace

Whether it’s a desk or table it’s important to give your children a designated workspace. A separate space just for school will help with physically splitting where your child does their schoolwork from where they relax or play. Over time this can help separate their school life from everything else. By creating a dedicated workspace, you are also helping limit distractions during their school day. Additionally, to help your students get excited about this space, try getting them involved. Let them help design their work area. This will allow them to take ownership of the space and get pumped up about their new routine.

  • Organization

Being organized is the cornerstone of any good workspace. So, to limit distraction or frustration try utilizing these handy bins, trays and caddies for keeping things in order this fall. If you’re not sure where to start with your space, Pinterest has amazing ideas for every space. 

  • Computer, printer and internet access

If you’ve chosen remote learning for your littles this year there are a few non-negotiables that will be on your checklist including a computer, printer and internet access. A reliable computer and printer that operates at a good speed and can handle a variety of different programs and tasks will make online learning so much easier.

remote learning

  • Comfortable chair

Remote learning can lead to long days, so your child must have a comfortable chair while in their workspace. It will help them be more productive and go a long way in limiting distractions or needing to take breaks because of discomfort.

  • Headphones/earbuds

A quality pair of headphones will help your little learners stay on task and focused by blocking out extra noises in the house. These days there are so many fun and colorful options out there. Try letting your child get involved by letting them choose their favorite pair. A little self-expression will go a long way while studying remotely this fall. A pair of well-made headphones will also be a sanity saver for any parents or caregivers working from home as well.

  • Traditional school supplies

It may seem unnecessary, but believe it or not, remote learners will still need traditional school supplies this fall. It will come in handy when they are working on worksheets, workbook pages or writing in their planners. So, stocking up on the essentials this fall is a must, even if your child won’t be participating in on-site instruction. To save yourself a little time and money, be sure to purchase one of these already assembled, school supplies bundles filled with all of the essential classroom basics your student will need this year.

  • Water bottle

While you may not be sending your children to school for onsite instruction, it’s still a great idea to supply them with a durable, insulated water bottler at their desk or workspace within your home. This will not only be a fun way to spice up their day but also a great way to make them feel special and included as many of their classmates will have them. It will also help limit the number of times your littler learner gets up for a drink of water during their e-learning sessions.

  • Backpack

It may seem silly for your e-learner to have a backpack this year. While they won't be hopping from classroom to classroom, having a bookbag with room for a laptop, books and other supplies will be a lifesaver if they need to move to another location or simply crave a change of scenery. It can also be a great way to store those daily essentials without taking up a ton of extra room.

  • Dry-erase board and markers

While most of your child’s work will be on online platforms this year, having a whiteboard and dry erase markers could be a great way for younger children to answer questions, interact with their teachers and stay engaged. It’s also a perfect way to jot down your student’s daily schedule or a fun way to create a “do not disturb” sign when serious studying is a must.

  • Rules for your e-learning space

When children are in school there are clear rules and expectations set forth by their teacher on the very first day. Remote learners will no doubt have similar rules and expectations, but it can be extremely helpful if, as a family, you decide the proper etiquette when learning remotely. Try creating a list or sign that can be hung up in their workspace. Get them involved by allowing them to decorate the poster and make suggestions on appropriate school time behavior.

The most important item on your checklist

No matter the style of learning you’ve chosen this fall, be confident in the fact that it was the right choice for you and your family. Please remember to give yourself, your children and their teachers a little bit of grace. These are unprecedented times and we need to be kind to one another.

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