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Back to School Essentials: Pandemic Checklist

November 30, 2020 Sarah Coggins

Following 8 months of being home due to the coronavirus, our kids finally returned to in person school earlier this month. It’s brought a mix of emotions, but mainly relief at getting a tiny bit of normal back. In preparing for their first day, I came up with a list of school essentials needed in addition to their traditional back to school needs.

School Essentials for In Person Learning During a Pandemic

  1. Reusable Face Masks – obviously face masks are a must. Each day they wear one and I make certain they have extras in their backpack inside a quart size zipper bag. I labeled the bag with their name, “Clean Masks”, grade, and (for the youngest) teacher’s name. [Our oldest is in middle school and changes classes so I just noted his grade level on his.]
  2. Mask Lanyards – I purchased these on a whim in October and they have been very helpful. With the lanyard attached, our kids can remove their masks at lunch and snack times and keep them safe & clean. No worries about where to set them or knocking them onto the floor. The lanyards are equally helpful if they need to remove their masks to blow their nose. Which brings me to my next item …
  3. Tissues – I put a small package of personal tissues in each child’s backpack. I wanted to be sure that no matter where they are, they have quick access to a tissue when needed.
  4. Hand Sanitizer – I found small personal sanitizer options to clip to their backpacks. My daughter’s is from Bath & Body Works and smells like strawberries. I found a plain option for my son at Target since, understandably, he wasn’t a fan of any of the B&BW scents.
  5. Hand Wipes – if you can find small packages, these are useful for their lunch boxes. I feel pretty confident our kids are getting to a sink to wash their hands before eating, but it never hurts to have a wipe handy. Even if they just use them at the end of their meal to clean up.
  6. Refillable Water Bottle – water fountains are off limits right now so having a water bottle is a must. Be sure to practice opening and closing with younger kids. They need to be able to do this on their own when they need to refill it.
  7. Labels – I’ve always been a big fan of labeling their supplies, but we’ve taken this to an entirely new level this year. I’m labeling items that used to be shared in the classroom (ie, glue sticks) and, of course, their face masks. Thankfully I had on hand labels for everything except the masks. For those I ordered iron-on labels from Mabel’s Labels. To be able to order just one pack, I personalized them with our last name and home phone number.
  8. Keyboard Skins – we chose to purchase Chromebooks for our kids and, while they don’t share with others, dirty fingers still happen. I’m grateful my son asked a keyboard skin last year. I ended up buying one for our daughter over the summer purely for fun. I thought she’d like to ‘match’ her big brother and enjoy the pink keys. Now that they are back in the classroom there is an added bonus – the skins are very easy to clean when they get home. Yes, I still wipe down the entire Chromebook, but it’s nice to not have to scrub down around every key. Just lift the skin, wash it, dry – then return to keyboard. [Tip: be sure to find a skin that fits your specific device brand/model and look carefully at keyboard design compared to photo online.]

About Me


Hi! I'm a DIY and craft obsessed mom to 2. I have my hands covered in sawdust or paint any given day. My husband and kids join me in many of our projects. When we aren't creating at home, we're creating memories in our many adventures. Join along! Read More


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I highly recommend the book What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage for any woman of faith who has suffered a miscarriage or anyone wanting to gain insight to help comfort a spouse, friend, sister, daughter, etc.


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