Ready or Not—Here’s Your Back-to-School Checklist

As we all learn to adjust to the new normal, a list of the most important things to remember for your child's new school year.

Things-You-Should-NEVER-Do-When-Visiting-Someone-in-the-HospitalRawpixel.com/ShutterstockClass schedules. Medical forms. School supplies. Even in the best of times, there’s so much to take care of before your child begins a school year, it’s a challenge to keep up. And this year we can add staggered attendance schedules, social-distancing, and remote learning to the list. To assist you, here’s a helpful, easy-to-print checklist of things to remember for your child’s new school year with information provided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

1. Contact your child’s school to find out whether students and teachers will be engaging in virtual-only classes, activities, and events; attending small, in-person classes, activities, and events seated 6 feet apart; or going back to full-size, in-person classes, activities, and events where students are not spaced apart, are sharing classroom materials and supplies, and freely mingling between classes and activities.

2. Make sure all registration requirements have been taken care of, including emergency and medical forms. This is also a good time to verify the date and time that school begins and get a schedule of important dates.

3. Call your child’s pediatrician to make sure all vaccinations are up to date—and here are 10 vaccine myths you can safely ignore. If your child has any chronic medical conditions, be sure to contact the school with this information. It is also a good idea to take your child for an eye examination before school starts, in case there is a need for glasses. Schools engaging in close settings and activities may require a COVID-19 test in order for your child to attend.

4. Even if your child is logging onto remote learning from home, get a supplies list from the school or your child’s teacher before you buy more than the essentials, as some teachers have very specific requests. If you don’t want to wait until the shopping rush, try to touch base with your child’s teacher a few days before school starts. Teachers are generally setting up their classrooms at that time and will probably be reachable. And check out these 9 ways to save on back-to-school gear.

5. If your child will be away from home, be sure they knows their home phone number and address, as well as your work phone or the number of another trusted adult. If they are too young to memorize these facts, keep a contact card in their backpack and be sure to explain that they should show the card to their teacher or another school official in an emergency.

6. If your child will be attending school on either a staggered or full-time schedule, figure out where they will catch the school bus before school starts. This is also a good time to reinforce safety behaviors with your child, such as waiting at the bus stop after school with a friend and never accepting rides from strangers.

7. If you are not working out of your home, plan for what your child will be doing after school. If you will not be there when he gets home, make sure he knows who will be responsible for him, what the rules are, and how to get help in an emergency. Here are 11 healthy after-school snacks to keep on hand.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest