How to Shop for Back to School in the Age of COVID-19

It’s not news that 2020’s school year is looking different for parents across the country and even across the globe. Whether your students are going back to the classroom or doing part- or full-time remote work, there are a lot of learning curves when it comes to being a parent in the age of COVID-19. Back to school shopping isn’t just about backpacks and highlighters and protractors anymore. Personal protective equipment (PPE) has moved to top of the back to school supplies list for 2020. 

We know you’re worried about keeping your kids safe, healthy, and protected as you send them to school and extracurricular activities. You want your children to live life fully, while still prioritizing their health and wellness (and also meeting school, county, and federal guidelines). 

PPE is a back to school must-have, but it’s new territory for us all. That’s why we’re here to make it easy for you. We Protect cares about your kids’ safety and learning as they head back into school. So. if you’re not sure where to start buying protective supplies for your students, here’s a list of suggestions to get your kids to school safely this year. 

It’s not news that 2020’s school year is looking different for parents across the country and even across the globe. Whether your students are going back to the classroom or doing part- or full-time remote work, there are a lot of learning curves when it comes to being a parent in the age of COVID-19. Back to school shopping isn’t just about backpacks and highlighters and protractors anymore. Personal protective equipment (PPE) has moved to top of the back to school supplies list for 2020. 

1. Reusable masks for kids

Recommended: 20-pack reusable, washable, breathable kids’ face covering 

The CDC recommends that anyone over 2 years of age should wear a mask in public settings due to COVID-19. That means even your kindergarteners should have a mask on when they go to school. 

Reusable masks are a favorite for a lot of parents because they save money and they’re better for the environment. They also tend to fit the face better, which means they’re more comfortable and offer more protection. Plus, kids might be more careful with reusable masks than disposable ones because they know they have to go home wearing the same mask.

When selecting a reusable mask for your child, you want:

  • To make sure it fits their face (the mask should have age-appropriate sizing specifically for kids) 
  • Multiple layers of protection (which is why homemade cloth masks often don’t cut it)
  • Breathable, comfortable material 
  • A washable and reusable option (to save money)
  • To ensure it won’t lose shape with washing 

If you’re going to use a reusable mask for your child, we highly recommend purchasing multiple masks anyway. Your kids should use one different mask each day, at least, to ensure they’re not spreading germs by re-wearing the same mask. Still, you don’t want to end up doing laundry every night to wash their mask. We recommend purchasing a 20-pack of reusable, washable face coverings, so you can wait until the weekend to do your mask laundry. We also offer a 10-pack of the same high-quality masks. 

2. Disposable masks for kids 

Recommended: 100-pack disposable 3-level face masks, blue or pink

Reusable masks aren’t the right choice for every family. Disposable masks mean you can throw them away the second your child gets home from school, so you never have to worry about tracking germs inside. Some parents also send their kids to school with both a reusable and disposable mask to see which their child prefers and to have options throughout the day. For example, your child may want to switch to a disposable mask for gym class in case it gets sweaty, and then they can go back to the reusable mask when they head back to math. 

Our disposable masks come in fun colors and designs (kids love our blue/pink star design!) to make wearing a mask less stressful and more of a fashion statement. We’re finding that “fun” masks actually encourage strong mask-wearing habits for kids (and adults!). 

Choosing the right mask for kids:

  • Does the mask fit snugly and comfortably?
  • Is it secured with ear loops that don’t pull on the ear?
  • Does it have multiple layers of protection? 
  • Is it breathable? Can you breathe without restriction? 

3. Mask bags

We highly recommend you pack at least two masks with your kid every school day. They want to be able to switch them out or have an extra on hand in case they lose it, it breaks, etc. You also want to give them a spot to store dirty masks away from their clean masks and other school items. That makes it easy for you to simply open the dirty bag, throw the old masks out or in the wash, and keep everyone safe from any germs. 

Face mask cases or bags can help prevent cross-contamination by separating them from the other items in your kids’ backpack (like pencils, which they might chew on, or their lunchbox). They’re also a great way to make sure their face masks don’t end up on the bottom of their bookbags, collecting dust and germs. Check out some of these face mask cases to get started. 

Here are some of our favorite mask cases for kids:

  • This face mask (TrendyTeesbyJulie) has color options and personalization with a lot of cool symbols (from sports to music to animals) that will make kids happy and excited to put on their mask. 
  • We also love these clean + dirty mask bags (HappyBlueMarble). This is a great way to send your child to school with a bag full of clean masks and have them separate out which masks they used with an easy, convenient system. These dirty/clean masks are especially fun because they’re personalized with happy/sad faces!
  • These face mask cases (TheSapphireDragonly) are colorful and fun, plus they have a keychain so they can attach right to your student’s backpack.  

4. Mask lanyards and chains

Mask lanyards are something we never expected to hit the market, but we’re so glad they’re here now. These lanyards function similar to eyeglass straps. You can use them to turn your mask into a hands-free necklace, so your mask is always conveniently accessible and it doesn’t collect additional germs if you were to put it down or in a backpack. Also, if your kid has a tendency to lose things, this makes sure the mask stays in one spot, always next to them.

You can also get mask chains personalized with your child’s name or other cool sayings. Check out some of these mask “saver” options:

Plus, we like these mask lanyards because they’re adjustable, so you can also clasp them to the ear loops to distribute the load of the mask from behind the ear to the entire neck. This makes it more comfortable, which means kids will be more likely to wear them without touching their face a lot.

5. Hand sanitizer

Recommended: 8oz alcohol hand sanitizer gel

Hand sanitizers are a COVID-19 must-have for kids and adults alike. Although a lot of schools will have hand sanitizer stations, you’ll want to give your child the option and responsibility to sanitize their hands frequently with their own bottle of it. 

Not all hand sanitizer is created equal. The CDC recommends a 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol solution to effectively destroy bacteria and stop the spread of germs. We want to make sure our kids are healthy and using non-toxic products, but you also need to make sure the hand sanitizer you’re giving your kids is doing its job effectively. 

We recommend an 8oz hand sanitizer gel for kids. This fits easily in their backpack or even their pencil case, so they always have sanitizer ready and available when they need it. You’ll want to even throw a bottle of sanitizer anywhere and everywhere there’s room; make it as accessible as possible, so they don’t have to go digging in their bag with dirty hands. You can even purchase hand sanitizer clips holders, like these cool patterned ones, that clip to the outside of the bag for stress-free and convenient use. 

If your kid has an assigned desk or workspace at school, they may also want a larger bottle of sanitizer they can keep accessible. Our 15.2oz bottle has a squeeze top for low-contact distribution, in case their friends want to share.  

Get some tips on teaching your kids how to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer here

It’s not news that 2020’s school year is looking different for parents across the country and even across the globe. Whether your students are going back to the classroom or doing part- or full-time remote work, there are a lot of learning curves when it comes to being a parent in the age of COVID-19. Back to school shopping isn’t just about backpacks and highlighters and protractors anymore. Personal protective equipment (PPE) has moved to top of the back to school supplies list for 2020. 

6. Alcohol wipes

Recommended: 60 count alcohol wipes

Wipes are useful for disinfecting both hands and surfaces. It doesn’t hurt to teach your child to wipe down their desk and area in the morning before starting the school day as a way to get rid of any lurking germs. Plus, it’s a good routine to teach discipline in terms of health, cleanliness, and organization. 

Give your kids easy-to-use alcohol wipes that teach them cleaning can be easy. These We Protect alcohol wipes are 75% alcohol so they meet the threshold for killing harmful bacteria and viruses. They’re FDA and CE-certified, and there’s no limit on how many you can order (which is a huge plus during the back to school rush). 

7. Thermometer

Recommended: Infrared thermometer

Schools are going to take children’s temperatures before they walk in to make sure they’re not sick. It doesn’t hurt to also have a thermometer at home to check your student in the morning before making the drive to school. This gives you peace of mind, knowing they can go to school happy and healthy for a full day of learning. 

Rather than the traditional under-the-tongue or even on-the-head models, we recommend infrared thermometers. The traditional thermometers can spread germs easily if not properly cared for, so you don’t want to take the risk if one person gets sick in your house. Infrared thermometers use thermal radiation to detect body heat from afar, so they are contactless and intelligently accurate. 

Our infrared thermometers are a great price since they’re so high-grade, certified by the FDA and CE, and accurate enough for even high-traffic situations. We love these for home use as well because they are one of the most precise thermometers, made to keep your family safe and healthy. 

8. PPE Kit

Recommended: Kids’ large PPE kit

Want a little bit of everything to get you started? We Protect offers kids’ individual PPE kits with masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer. These kits make back to school shopping easy and stress-free, so you can focus on spending time with your family and shopping for more fun stuff than PPE, like a backpack and cool erasers. 

Our kids’ small PPE kit has 50 disposable masks, 4 packages (of 10) wipes, and 2 8oz hand sanitizers. This is a good choice for a single child and/or if you’re looking to see what kind of masks and sanitizing option your child will prefer. 

The kids’ large PPE kit has double that of the small: 100 disposable masks, 8 packs of 10 wipes, and 4 8oz hand sanitizers. This is a great way to start your student off with enough PPE for a few months, so you don’t have to worry about them running out. 

Are you ready for school 2020? 

There’s a lot to worry about when it comes to your kids, let alone kids in a COVID-19 world. We want to ease your burdens and relieve your stress as much as possible by providing you and your family with high-quality, top-notch, FDA-certified personal protective equipment. We provide PPE that’s safe, convenient, and easy to use, for kids of all ages.  

If you’re not sure where to start to protect your family, we recommend the large PPE kit for kids. It has everything your student needs to get back to school this fall.  

And if you’re still feeling uncertain about the 2020 school year and want more info on keeping your children safe, feel free to contact us directly. We’re here to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about your family’s health and wellness. 

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