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Back to School: How Coronavirus will change school life in September - and possibly for good

We reveal how term time might be different in the 'New Normal'

back to school covid
August 24, 2020
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Back to School in September 2020 will be like no other. Coronavirus has changed every aspect of our lives and nowhere is that more evident than in the classroom. Many children have been away from school for six months so don’t be surprised if this return feels a little bit daunting.

PLANNING: A Back to School essentials checklist for a COVID-19 world - the ultimate guide

But, while there are differences to this school year, there are things that you can do that make it all a lot less overwhelming and even add some fun. From personalised lunchboxes and pencil cases to bright, colourful face masks and hand sanitiser bottles, we look at what you need to get ready ahead of the ‘New Normal’ school term.

School Drop Off

One of the biggest changes with the return to school in September is how children enter the school building. Forget long, lingering goodbyes, drop-offs this term will be staggered with parents prohibited from coming into school buildings and children escorted into the playground by the teachers. This could cause anxiety, especially for younger children starting school, or those nervous about going into a new class.

STOCK UP: 10 best children’s books about anxiety for kids who worry

While you can’t physically take them into school at the moment, try to make this transition a bit less scary by celebrating it with a personalised First Day At School card. Write inside what you would have told them as you dropped them off and create a memento of this very special day.

first day card

First Day At School card, £3.95, NotOnTheHighStreet


Face masks for travel

While no child is currently required to wear a face mask in class; if they’re over 11 and have a journey on public transport to get to school or need to head into a shop on the way home, they’ll need one. There’s been an explosion of designs since the rules regarding face masks were announced and you can have fun choosing one together to make the whole experience a little less hideous.

bee face mask

Cotton bee-covered face mask, £10, Selfridges


To keep them fresh and clean, it’s worth washing reusable masks at 30 degrees at least once a week. Make sure you buy a couple so running out is never an issue come Sunday night.

SHOP: The best face Back to School face coverings 

Hand sanitiser to be in backpacks

Hand sanitiser is a simple way to keep little ones safe and reduce the spread of coronavirus, but be sure to choose a non-alcoholic, kid-friendly version that won’t irritate their skin, which is much more sensitive than ours.

mucky pups

Mucky Pups Hand Sanitiser, £5, JoJo Maman Bebe


While your kids might complain about the constant hand washing, these colourful hand sanitiser bottles from Etsy are at least a bright and stylish addition to their schoolwear. They can easily be refilled and clipped onto their rucksack or book bag, as they dash out the door, and are customised with a name so there’s more chance that they’ll come home at the end of the school day too.

personalised hand sanitiser

Personalised refillable hand sanitiser, £3.50, Etsy 


GET INSPIRED: The best hand sanitisers for children going back to school 

No more sharing 

To avoid the unnecessary sharing of resources, many schools are requiring students to bring in their own personalised pencil cases and stationery. Don’t leave buying these to the last minute. It’s likely to take them ages to choose a pencil case that reflects their own personal sense of style plus, because they’re customised, they’ll take that bit longer to arrive in the post.

STOCK UP: The best stationery sets for kids 

Name tags are essential

Naming uniform is something that the majority of parents dread come August but, this year, it’s more important than ever that every shirt, sock, cardi and glove is labelled. Whether you decide to save time with iron-on labels or go for the traditional approach and dig out your needle and thread, make sure you stock up on name tags for the new term.

name tags iron

Iron on name labels, from £2.75, Etsy 

name tags sew

Sew on name labels, from £3.99, Etsy 


RELATED: Best back to school uniform deals

Lunchtimes will be different

Post-Lockdown, pre-summer holidays, if a child was bringing in a packed lunch, it had to be completely disposable. The regulations have been relaxed on this now but it’s important that packed lunches aren’t shared. To help your child understand this, get them a personalised lunchbox like this cute design from one of Prince George’s favourite brands, My 1st Years.

lunch box

Personalised lunch bag, £14, My 1st Years 


YUM: 5 simple and healthy snack ideas for your kids' lunchboxes

Say goodbye to communal water jugs at lunch time

From September, schools are being discouraged to share water jugs and use reusable cups in the lunch hall. Instead, send your child in with a personalised water bottle. There are so many designs to choose from; it’s going to be hard for them to pick just the one.

personalised water bottle

Personalised rainbow water bottle, £14.95, NotOnTheHighStreet


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