10 Items to Add to Your Child’s Back-to-School Supply List for COVID-19

If your child is returning to the classroom this fall, they’ll need some new supplies. Pediatrician Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, shares her list.

School Supplies for a Pandemic

  1. Mask or face covering: Use permanent marker to label all masks with your child’s name, as well as to indicate the mask’s top, bottom, front and back. Here’s how to help kids get used to masks.
  2. Resealable bag or container for masks: Label an empty bag or container for your child to store their primary mask in when they’re not wearing it (for example, while eating).
  3. One or two spare masks: Send extra masks in a separate resealable bag or container, in case the mask your child starts out in breaks or gets dirty.
  4. Tissues: Send your child to school with their own pocket-size packets of tissues, so they’re handy when they need to cover coughs and sneezes. Don’t forget to practice at home!
  5. Hand sanitizer: It’s a good idea for your child to have their own hand sanitizer so they don’t have to share. Look for refillable keychains and containers that clip to their backpack, so they don’t have to dig for it. IMPORTANT: To be effective, hand sanitizer should be alcohol-based with at least 60% alcohol. Be sure that your school has a policy in place to supervise its use, since hand sanitizer can be toxic when swallowed – and make sure you avoid these brands, which contain a poisonous ingredient.
  6. Beach towel: Check with your child’s school first. If they’ll be holding outdoor classes, they may want your child to bring a towel to sit on outside.
  7. Fidgets: Gadgets like fidget spinners or fidget cubes keep busy hands away from faces and mouths.
  8. Hair ties, head bands or other fasteners: Keep your child’s hair out of their face – and along with it, their hands.
  9. Reusable water bottle: If your child is thirsty, they can avoid the public water fountain.
  10. Classroom basics, and beyond: Check with your child’s school. To reduce classroom sharing, they may not be able to provide communal school supplies. If that’s the case, send your child with their own items, from notebooks to folders to glue sticks.

Check with your child’s school for specific requirements, including whether items like personal hand sanitizer and fidget spinners are allowed. While you’re at it, ask if they need extra donations of classroom materials, from pencils to scissors – so kids don’t need to share school supplies – and health items like tissues and hand sanitizer.

> For more helpful resources, check out our Back to School Kit

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