By Joi Bass
Well Dreamlettes, back to school season is right around the corner. Whether we are in public school or higher education, we look forward to making that long awaited trip to Target or Walmart looking for the cutest and trendiest school supplies.
However, the back to school season this year is going to be different. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as communities across the United States plan their children’s return back to school, the CDC has offered ways in which schools can protect students, teachers, administrators and staff from a rapid spread of Covid-19.
The CDC has provided three different methods in which K-12 schools and colleges and universities can return in the fall.
A low-risk method the CDC recommends is where students and teachers engage in virtual-remote learning. A suggestion that poses more of a risk is small in-person classes. This means that groups of students will stay with the same teacher throughout the day and students will not mix. In addition, students will remain six feet apart and not touch objects.
The highest risk that the CDC proposes is full-sized in person classes. This means students are not spaced apart and students will share objects and mix between classes.
It is true that this school year is going to be unlike any other academic year. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best out of the current situation.
Here are some back to school must haves that are not only safe, but trendy.
Masks have become an essential item during the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you are doing school online or in-person, masks are still important when you’re out and about. One thing people have done to make mask-wearing more exciting is to purchase masks that showcase their personality. You’ll be able to find one that works for you, no matter if you are a fan of Billie Eilish, in a sorority or into vibrant patterns and colors. This will motivate you to look forward to putting on your masks while keeping yourself and those around you safe.
2. Hand Sanitizer
Just like masks, hand sanitizer is going to be a crucial item to help you maintain cleanliness in and out the classroom. Now Dreamlettes, we can all agree that the strong alcohol smell of common hand sanitizer brands can be unbearable. However, there are other alternatives. According to the website Real Simple, PocketBac sanitizers from Bath and Body Works are perfect for back to school and everyday travel. These hand sanitizers come in fun, fresh scents that are easy to carry in your backpack and lunch box. You can find these hand sanitizers at bathandbodyworks.com.
Whether you have AirPods or regular plug-in headphones, they are an essential school supply for in-person or virtual classes. For virtual classes, headphones make things easier to hear when you log in to your Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings. For in-person classes, headphones are a necessity. When you are on your lunch break or waiting for the bus, headphones provide you an easy escape. Whether you’re listening to a new podcast or your favorite artist’s album, headphones will forever be a staple to your school supply collection for the fall.
We live in a society where technology is advancing everyday. In order to save paper laptops are perfect for students from middle school to higher education as the majority of their school assignments are online. In addition, now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, teachers are using video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meets to teach their lessons.
5. Lap desks
A report from CNN states that there are currently several big school districts that are extending remote learning into the fall. Those large school districts include Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta, as the number of Covid-19 cases are steadily rising in those areas. Now that millions of students are potentially going to be learning from home, they want to have a workspace that is comfortable and relaxing. A lap desk is a perfect resource that will turn any boring space into a comfy little office. Websites like PBTeen have many options, like Hogwarts-themed lap desks that also provide space to store their materials.
6. Planner/Google Calendar
Many of us Dreamlettes are gals on the go. During the school year, our schedules are packed with courses, extra curricular activities and part-time jobs. With the current pandemic and the possibility of virtual classes, it is important now more than ever to have a place where you can write down or type your deadlines for future assignments, projects and exams. I believe whether you are tech savvy or prefer classic pen-to-paper, a planner and Google Calendar are both excellent ways to help you stay organized and stay on top of your schoolwork.
It is true that this year has been very difficult for all of us, and we are all waiting for the day where things can return back to normal. However, we shouldn’t look at the current situation in a negative light. We should look at this new school year as a new opportunity.
We can work on things we have continuously put off and build habits to make us better students. Remember Dreamlettes, 2020 is the year of change and regardless of what is going on in the world around us, we should never forget to keep dreaming and do whatever it takes to make our dreams become a reality in the classroom.
Joi Bass is an editorial writer who specializes in social justice, mental health advocacy, online safety and the well-being of our youth. You can follow her on Instagram.