Safely Back to School: The new school supply list is changing for students in the fall

The Rebound Detroit
school lunch
Posted at 7:33 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 19:36:33-04

SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WXYZ) — We continue our Safely Back to School series with a look at how those back to school shopping lists will need to change, with parents now forced to shop in a back to school season unlike any other.

"My anxiety is probably to a 10. Not knowing what’s going to happen," said Lisa Ortner.

For Lisa Ortner, returning to work was hard but the thought of her daughter returning to school has been even more nerve-racking. The Southgate mom has concerns about safety, about her squeezed budget.

"The money factor of being a single parent with my kid going back to school, with the extra cost of masks, sanitation," Ortner said.

Ortner is wondering what about the tools her rising second grader will need in an uncertain school year.

"Do I pick up paper or do I pick mask and sanitation supplies," Ortner said.

Lisa’s anxiety, shared by many parents across Metro Detroit, now forced to shop in a ‘back to school’ season like no other. Priorities are different this year when it comes to school supplies.

"Number one obviously is the mask" said Carrie Estabrook.

If your child is physically heading back to school, Educator Carrie Estabrook says you need to stock up-to mask up. Each child should have 3-5 reusable masks that can be switched out and washed.

"Still cannot find any of the bleach wipes," Ortner said.

While wipes are quick and easy, soap and paper towel is a good alternative and in stock at most stores. In the meantime, consider buying hand sanitizer in bulk then refilling individual bottles.

"Everybody knows there’s a lot of shared supplies that kids use on a day to day basis so how do you handle that?" asked Ameera David during an interview with Estabrook.

"Everybody has an individual basket or pencil box or bin thats labeled with your child's name," Estabrook said.

The community sharing of supplies goes away this year. so make sure to stock your child with their own scissors, glue, eraser and pencil sharpener.

When it comes to lunches, that will surely change.

"A lunchbox, that’s easy for them to wipe clean," Estabrook said.

For younger kids use snacks and containers they can open themselves.

"Have them practice opening up their little fruit snacks, their applesauce," Estabrook said. "Because those are sometimes challenging."


  • Stock up on 3-5 reusable masks per child
  • Buy an individual pencil box for kids where they can store their supplies, and label it with their name
  • Pack lunches that your child is capable of opening independently

It’s one thing to buy the masks. but getting your child to be comfortable wearing them for several hours in a day is a whole different challenge. Have your kid start wearing a mask an hour a day and gradually work your way up so kids are better prepared once they get to the classroom.

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