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5 essential items your kids need when they go back to school

We've also got some safety tips on helping your kids adjust to returning to the classroom.

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Here are some extras your kid will need to bring to school this year.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution is on an accelerated course -- although there could be a setback if the Johnson and Johnson vaccines are paused. However, more cities, states and counties are preparing to reopen schools and classrooms, and not just in August or September. Some schools are evaluating shifts in their policies to let kids in part-time or full-time as early as this month, as more teachers and parents are vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

Others have been in-session or following hybrid in-person and online models for months. But what does back to school look like now, especially with new CDC guidelines for vaccinated people? Will mask mandates still be in effect for most states? How will schools deal with testing and any new outbreaks? 

While there's so much we still don't know, we help you feel out some helpful items your child (or teenager) can pack to help protect themselves and others from the coronavirus. In the meantime, here's when kids could get the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine myths you'll want to avoid and what you need to know about coronavirus herd immunity.

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Items your kids will need when schools reopen

Water bottle

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For your older kids in high school, a self-cleaning bottle is a great option for them to take to school daily. As for your elementary and middle school-aged kids, opt for a motivational water bottle that reminds them to drink their water.

Multiple face masks

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Since the COVID-19 vaccine is still being tested in children (more below), face masks remain an essential part of preventing the spread of the coronavirus -- especially the new variants. Here are some of our favorite masks for young kids and for teenagers. And for those participating in sports or gym class, here are some of the best masks for exercising and running outside. If your kids are in speech therapy, a clear face mask could prove to be beneficial.

Hand sanitizer

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Send your kids to school with hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the Food and Drug Administration, you should avoid these recalled hand sanitizers due to toxic methanol. Here are some good hand sanitizer options.

Extra school supplies

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During this time, borrowing pencils or other objects is not recommended as it breaks the physical distancing barrier between two students, or student and teacher. It's best to send your kids to school with extra pencils, paper, glue and other items they'll need each day.

Tissues or disinfecting wipes

Angela Lang/CNET

Send your kids to school with a package of tissues and/or disinfecting wipes to prevent them from moving around the classroom more than necessary. Their own stash of tissues is helpful for allergies and either wet or dry wipes can clean fingers or a spill, plus touch common items like door handles and water faucets. 

What's the status on vaccine approval for kids?

At this time, no vaccine has been approved for those who are under the age of 16 -- Pfizer is the only one that has an approved vaccine for teens age 16 and older. Moderna and Pfizer are both testing their vaccines on kids between the ages of 12 and 17

Moderna expects to have its label expanded for the vaccine to cover those between the ages of 12 and 17 by this summer. Johnson and Johnson, which was authorized for emergency use in February, has been paused due to a rare clotting problem. J&J has plans to test its vaccine in kids ages 12 and younger "soon," including infants, the New York Times reported, but it's unclear when it will happen.

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Safety protocols to follow when sending your kids back to school

Here are some recommendations to follow when sending your kids back to the classroom.

  • Check their temperature daily. If it's over 100.4, keep them at home.
  • Make sure they don't have any COVID-19 related symptoms, like a sore throat or coughing.
  • Remind them to wash their hands thoroughly and often while at school.
  • Remind them to socially distance themselves from others and to keep their masks on unless eating or drinking.
  • Let them know that while it's kind, sharing school supplies isn't the safest option right now.
  • When they return home from school, spray their backpacks with disinfectant spray.

For more information, here's where to find a leftover COVID-19 vaccine near you, all the COVID-19 vaccine details you need to know and where to get the vaccine right now.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.