The 2020 back-to-school season is going to be like none we’ve ever seen before.
Most school-aged children will either be going to the classroom on a part-time basis or learning entirely at home. Many parents may also be working from home for the first time.
Your typical back-to-school list just won’t cut it this year. Whether your kids are in high school, middle school, or elementary school, you’ll need a different assortment of essentials to ensure that you and your children can thrive as coworkers. You’ll also need to stock up on gear that ensures your children’s safety in the classroom.
Here’s your back-to-school shopping list, pandemic edition:
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- Noise-canceling equipment
- Upgraded wifi
- Home office equipment
- Whiteboard planner
If your children are doing hybrid schooling, they’ll need to wear face masks while in the classroom. Stock up on reusable masks and make sure your children have backups with them at all times. You can find fun patterns and prints that will make your kids look forward to accessorizing with PPE (personal protective equipment).
Don’t forget to teach them how to wear face masks properly. Masks should always cover noses.
Hand sanitizer bottles are also essential school items in 2020. Equip your kids with small refillable bottles that they can fit in their backpacks or clip on them. Keep a family-size bottle at home and use it to refill the portable bottles.
When children are learning at home, you may not have the luxury of putting each child, and yourself, in separate rooms. With multiple people taking phone calls or listening to virtual school lessons in one space, it’s bound to get noisy. Provide your family with noise-canceling headphones, or place a white noise machine in your workspace to drown out the chatter.
Sharing the family desktop computer won’t cut it when you, your spouse, and your children need to be online at the same time. While some school districts, public schools, and private schools are providing students with computers, others don’t have the resources.
If your family doesn’t receive a laptop from your child’s school, you have many options to consider.
With more users and more strain on your home internet, you’ll need more than the bare minimum to make sure that everyone has high-speed internet at all times.
So what’s the key to connectivity?
If load times are lagging even with a new router, you may need to call your internet provider and upgrade your service.
Your family may have survived on a makeshift home office set up during the spring. Still, if you’re going to make it through a whole school year with your kids as your colleagues, you’ll need proper desks.
Dedicated workspaces make it easier to separate work and school time from family time. Invest in desks, ergonomic chairs, and good lighting.
If you’re handy, you can even convert simple desks into cubicles for the little ones or yourself.
“I’m looking at building an isolation desk to help separate the kids from the distracting environment. I have [two] learning remote[ly] and a toddler in the house and it can get overwhelmingly distracting quickly,” says Brandon Kidd, vice president of production at DeltaV Digital.
Upgrade your space to promote good posture by purchasing mice for laptops, laptop stands, and monitors.
Purchase a whiteboard that you can turn into an organizational chart for the whole family. Share important deadlines, meetings, and calls so that both kids and parents know what their “colleagues” are working on and when they can and cannot be interrupted.
Caroline X is self-employed and works from home with her son in the Netherlands. “We made a plan board so he knew when not to disturb (when in important calls) and what his daily tasks were,” she says.
We don’t know what the 2020-2021 school year will bring. But, when you equip your family and home with new essentials like PPE, fast wifi, and ergonomic workspaces, you can handle changes that come your way.
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