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Kids headed back to school? Grab these COVID-19 must-haves for in-person learning
Many kids are returning to the classroom amid the pandemic, and sharing school supplies may not be the safest thing right now.
Katie TeagueWriter II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Many students went back to school for in-person learning today. A number of states are reinstating their indoor mask policy and the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for vaccinated people continues to change. But the school rules and supplies look a lot different than they did in 2019. Some schools are recommending, or even requiring, that students wear masks as a preventative measure. And even though most teachers add hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to the school list, those items are more important than before to help fight the virus.
The new variants are a good reason to buy more supplies than what your list calls for. Chances are, there will be less sharing, more social distancing and school guidelines that hope to prevent the spread of the virus. In the meantime, adding a few layers of protection and defense against the virus are best for children returning to in-person learning.
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.
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
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.
How much can parents plan to spend on supplies this year?
Along with all the other factors involved in sending kids back to the classroom, it looks like families are preparing to buy more this year. The National Retail Foundation survey predicts that families with children from elementary to high school will spend an average of $848.90 this year on school supplies this year -- $59 more than last year when most kids did remote learning.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been several shortages of items like toilet paper, meat and cleaning supplies. Right now, many stores have their usual back-to-school display with plenty of supplies. But as the first day of school gets closer, you may not have a wide selection to choose from. Right before your school starts, you may see a shortage of face masks, pocket hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes.
Fortunately, over half of K-12 students started back-to-school shopping earlier this month and 39% took advantage of deals from Amazon's Prime Day and Target Deal Days. It's best to knock out your shopping list now instead of waiting till after the first day of school.
What's the latest update 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.
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.