August is here, and the kiddos are headed back to school. While you're soaking up the last few weeks of summer with your family and loved ones, it's a good idea to start a checklist for those back-to-school supplies. COVID is still a significant concern this fall, which means there are new items to add to your list this year.
Masks are going to be at the top of the list this year, so it's a good idea to stock up if you haven't already. If possible, purchase masks made specifically for kids for a good fit. Options vary from fabric, KN95, and disposable. Check them out here: Masks
Wearing an ill-fitting mask can be frustrating. However, there are plenty of options to choose from until you find what works. It's also a good idea to have multiple masks, keeping a few in your kids’ backpacks. Additionally, a zip-lock bag helps keep them clean and prevents any damage. Also, if your kids struggle with mask-wearing, it helps if you set a good example by wearing yours..
Keep your commutes finely tuned this school year. Establish a routine to sanitize items coming and going from your house, as well as your vehicles if you are involved in a carpool. Whether you ride a bus, a passenger car, or a train, bring wipes and other sanitizers with you, so that you’re always prepared.
Talk to your children about COVID and why you have to take precautions. Most students haven't been in the classroom in a while, so your kids may need to brush up on the importance of:
- Keeping distance from others.
- Wearing a mask.
- Avoiding sharing.
- Hand washing, early and often.
- Keeping sanitizer handy.
- Monitoring symptoms to look for/ communicate to an adult if you do not feel well.
- Maintaining routines compatible with an in-person school schedule.
There are some other things to think about in preparation for the school year. While you're shopping for supplies and back-to-school clothing, add these items to your list.
- Personal water bottle Water fountains may be turned off or replaced with a touchless refill dispenser. It's good to have an individual bottle for staying hydrated. You can also ask the school about their policy regarding water during COVID.
- Lunch bags/boxes If you aren't packing lunches now might be the time to consider the change. Not only do you have more peace of mind on the nutrition aspect, but you avoid the need to stand in a lunch line.
Below are some additional tips to help smooth out what could be a turbulent return to in-person classes.
- Have a plan for sudden closures or shutdowns.
- Have a clear understanding of the school's policy on a positive COVID test result, and keep the school's number saved as a contact in your phone so you do not miss important calls.
- Consider routine temperature checks before heading out every day, so you can catch a fever early on.
Going back to school can feel uneasy, especially at this time. Establishing a routine will be the best way to make sure you cover your bases on COVID protection.
For more guidance on dealing with back-to-school planning, visit the CDC's website and this checklist here.