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Remember to also pack patience, kindness for back-to-school

With new school year upon us, in this week's Everything King, Wendy says we need to lighten the load for 2020
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As everyone prepares for back to school — or back to homeschool — this crossed my mind. 

What is the 2020 backpack going to look like? 

And why do I think it will be bulging at the seams? 

I notice the stores, both online and in-person, have all the usual sales. 

What are the students going to need? What won’t they need? 

Should parents be prepared for one set of supplies for the first part of the school session and then another after Christmas if the situation changes?

I was thinking that if the young people are going back into the traditional classroom, they will be burdened down with the usual needs — books, pens, cellphone, folders — plus masks (and extra masks), hand sanitizer, gloves, and wet wipes. 

Do you still buy new clothes and shoes if you are learning at home?

Do you need that post-summer haircut?

There is going to have to be more packed lunches if everyone is trying to avoid possible germ transfer due to COVID-19. 

What if cafeterias aren’t operational? 

I’m guessing you can’t trade that gross banana that makes everything else in your lunch pail smell for your pal’s yummy cupcake. 

If students are doing online learning from home, they will need high-speed wifi and an up-to-date computer, neither of which comes cheap. 

Maybe they will need more USB drives than pens. 

According to an American survey by the National Retail Federation, which I quote since Americans kids go back to school earlier than they do here in Canada, the consensus was that most parents plan to spend more on supplies with the addition of online learning. Sixty-three per cent of families with students from kindergarten through Grade 12 will be buying electronics. That was up from 54 perncent the year before. 

Eighty per cent expect COVID will impact school shopping in some way. 

What about parents? 

I am thinking there may be a need for some alcohol, Tylenol, chocolate, and headphones in their proverbial backpacks depending on the stress level. 

Everyone is going to have some heaviness to lug around, both physical and emotional.

Let’s try not to also send kids off with our added baggage of germaphobia, fear, worry, and too many expectations. 

The whole world is in a learning curve and none of us will be figuring it out quickly. 

Teachers will be learning as they go along figuring out what works and what doesn’t. They are going to need the time to re-adjust on the fly. 

I’m hopeful we, as a society, can pack patience, open-mindedness, kindness and understanding as we all navigate this new terrain. 

None of us has been through any of this before. 

Those back-to-school backpacks can get very heavy. 

It would be great if we could all just lessen the load a bit. 


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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