Pencils and erasers. Check.
Notebooks and folders. Check.
Hand sanitizers, masks and pocket-size Kleenex. Check, check, check.
The back-to-school list looks like none other in our history. What about those bulk dry erase markers, family-size tissues, dozen glue sticks and 24-pack of pens on the list? You really can’t share any supplies this fall, although teachers still are short. Do you buy those for the classroom but in the same breath tell your child “Don’t touch!”?
Even purchasing school supplies — and that new outfit for the first day — seems surreal, with everyone limiting their shopping trips to avoid exposing themselves more than they have to.
Such is life in the COVID-19 pandemic.
No one should blame those backpack-laden students -- and their parents -- if they feel trepidation weighing most heavily on their shoulders. There are so many unknowns as the 2020-2021 academic year begins, and the risk of infection is real.
For those with children returning to school buildings, PPE has replaced talk of PE. Being a mask master has become more important than being selected for Math Masters.
Even the morning routine is more complicated. Breakfast, lunch box. Backpack, water bottle ... thermometer. Yes, parents should check Jacob’s and Isabella’s temperatures every morning and ask if they feel well.
Also changing is the list of parental admonitions ringing in students’ ears as they head out the door: “Don’t touch anything,” “Stay six feet apart,” “Don’t use the drinking fountain” and “Wear your mask.”
But perhaps among the most reassuring words on the list are those that parents heard their parents say: “Don’t forget your backpack … and remember to wash your hands.”