By GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — With all the uncertainty surrounding going back to school, shopping for supplies seems like a quaint idea from another time.
But school, in one form or another, will resume in the coming weeks, and supplies, whether for remote learning or in-person, will still be required.
“As a parent, I think, ‘should I be buying PJs and sweats or back-to-school clothes?’ Who knows?” said sixth-grade teacher and mom of four, Kassia Messina.
ABC News’ Good Morning America asked several teachers what’s on their back-to-school wish lists — what otherwise unusual items may prove essential for teaching during these trying times?
From special masks to hand sanitizer — and lots of it — consider stocking up on these items to get on the good side of your favorite teachers:
Clear face masks
For Laurel Wyatt, a preschool teacher of 4-year-olds in New York City, clear face masks for both teachers and kids are an item she thinks will be useful this coming year.
“It’s important for the kids to see my mouth while I teach them letter sounds and to see my expressions throughout the day,” she said. “Kids pick up so much from facial cues in addition to spoken word.”
And she hopes the kids can have them too.
“Kids rely on social cues from one another,” she said. “Peer modeling is also crucial for building language and problem-solving skills.”
For schools that require teachers to wear face coverings, wireless microphones are wanted to help keep their voices from being muffled. The Chicago Tribune reported that 300 had been ordered for one school district this fall.
Susan Gianiodis, a teacher in Buffalo, New York, wrote that she has one on order: “I’m nervous that my voice, never very strong, will be hard to hear through the mask.”
For kids on an alternate in-person schedule or who are exclusively learning remotely, several school districts are asking every child to have their own headphones.
At Centennial Elementary in Circle Pines, Minnesota, headphones are required for all students up through fifth grade. At Huddleston Elementary School in Peachtree City, Georgia, headphones or earbuds are required depending on the age of the child.
Headphones are important, “especially for kids with lots of background noise at home or for sheer focus, headphones can really help with communication on both sides [for both] student and teacher,” said New York City preschool teacher and mom of a middle schooler Brassfield Honores.
This “must-have” back-to-school item was mentioned by nearly every teacher we talked to, but it’s going to be almost impossible to find: Clorox wipes. ABC News reported Clorox said fresh supplies may not be available until later in 2021.
In an earnings call earlier this week, Clorox company president and CEO-elect Linda Rendle announced the company might not be able to restock the product in stores until next year.
Every teacher GMA spoke to mentioned hand sanitizer as a must-have item, and even if your school is stocked up, they said there’s no harm in having your child take their own.
Messina in her 14th year of teaching in Marlboro, New York, told GMA that “If your child is responsible enough to have it with them, it can’t hurt.”
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