Our pandemic back-to-school supply list

Pencils, pens, highlighters, paper, folders: Normally around this time of year, parents and kids would be stocking up on school supplies and scrambling to get ready to return to the classroom.

Pencils, pens, highlighters, paper, folders: Normally around this time of year, parents and kids would be stocking up on school supplies and scrambling to get ready to return to the classroom.

This year, however, is anything but normal.

In this year of the pandemic, schools and school districts in much of the country are kicking off the year with virtual education, a continuation of (and hopefully improvement upon) some of the remote learning capabilities rolled out in the immediate aftermath of shelter-in-place orders this spring.

Elsewhere, in states such as Texas and Florida, schools are reopening with new rules and regulations — protocols that embrace social distancing yet seriously transform day-to-day experiences for students.

To be clear, stark socioeconomic differences across the country mean that different families have vastly different needs for supplies — some kids need nothing more than headphones to listen to virtual classes on Zoom, while others require basic Wi-Fi, pens and a quiet space in a crowded apartment to work. Still, the needs are real.

We interviewed parents, teachers and administrators for insights about which supplies would be most helpful to the greatest number of kids given the current reality of pandemic-era education in America. Here are some of their suggestions.

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Northern California.

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