BacktoSchool

How to salvage special back-to-school moments amid a pandemic

If you thought one semester of remote learning was unbearable, get ready for round two.

As coronavirus cases continue to spike throughout the U.S., many schools and universities are taking the precaution of continuing virtual learning throughout the fall in order to ensure social distancing and limit the number of students on campus. The rules for each school vary as some schools are completely online, while others are adopting a hybrid model that consists of both in-person and online coursework. Some universities are allowing only first-year students to return, while others are eliminating on-campus housing completely for the fall.

High school and college seniors face losing their last school years to COVID-19, and 5-year-olds are missing the exciting first day of kindergarten. So with many students starting the school year from home, parents might be wondering: “How can I make it better for them?”

USA TODAY has consulted with two

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Covid Is Shaking Up Back-to-School Shopping

(Bloomberg Opinion) — School districts nationwide are beginning to announce their reopening plans for the coming academic year. The policies vary widely, with Atlanta and Los Angeles saying that school would be entirely online and, New York, the country’s largest district, opting for a mix of in-person and digital learning.

Of course, the primary tragedy of resorting to these non-traditional approaches to education amid Covid-19 is that it punishes students, who deserve a more immersive and social learning experience, and their parents, who badly need kids to be in school so they can get back to work.   

But the regional aspect of rules guiding school reopenings has another unfortunate side effect: It creates supply challenges for retailers as they try to drum up sales during the crucial back-to-school shopping season. 

Deloitte projects that $28.1 billion will be spent on back-to-school items this year, roughly flat compared to 2019.  The consultancy

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Top back-to-school gear: Tech Support

Welcome to Tech Support, a segment where I, Dan Howley, serve as your intrepid guide through the sometimes confusing, often frustrating, world of personal technology.

Here, I answer all of your most pressing questions about the various gizmos, gadgets, and services you use in your everyday life.

Have a question of your own? Reach me on Twitter at @danielhowley or email me at [email protected]

Now, on to your questions. This week’s dilemma:

‘What back-to-school tech does my kid need?’

We’re halfway through the summer, and that means the back-to-school season is in full swing. And with many schools expected to start the school year with remote learning as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, students are going to need new tech more than ever.

We’re talking laptops, Chromebooks, and routers to help get work done, and a few other gadgets for the inevitable down time.

Here’s the gear you’ll

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Back-to-School Essentials for Busy Parents

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

For parents, the COVID-19 pandemic has made back-to-school plans for their children particularly stressful this year.

Many school districts are combining in-class and online learning, which means kids’ schedules will be even more hectic than usual. Parents, then, will need everything from that critical morning coffee to a good night’s rest in order to survive. 

So Consumer Reports has come up with an array of back-to-school items that should help parents through the ordeal. These products  will also help keep the entire family fueled, fed, and healthy.

Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200

CR’s take: There’s nothing like a perfect cup of coffee to jump-start even the most jam-packed day. A traditional drip coffee maker, the Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200 makes plenty of java, thanks to its 14-cup glass carafe. It features programming, auto-shutoff, a cleaning indicator,

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Walmart, Marks & Spencer brace for tumultuous ‘back-to-school’ season

By Melissa Fares and Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – As more school districts roll back their reopening plans to curb the spread of coronavirus, major retailers in the United States, EU and UK are aggressively discounting back-to-school backpacks and uniforms and airing new advertisements featuring students happily taking classes at home.

In the UK, Marks & Spencer – a market leader – is offering deeply discounted merchandise, including 25% off across the entire school uniform range and free delivery for orders over £50. Land’s End will offer shoppers 60% off all backpacks Monday and Tuesday.

Walmart Inc, which created a mask section in its “back to school clothing” department online, has begun airing a commercial showing a boy attending school, alone, in a mask one day, then taking class online in his bedroom the next day. Another ad shows a mom packing up a backpack with school supplies for her daughter

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9 questions to help vet your back-to-school choices

In Brandon Wislocki’s fifth grade class this spring in California, daily virtual classes were an experiment in creativity.

The Zoom sessions featured guitar playing, group discussions about literature, live math lessons, checks for understanding through Zoom’s chat function and silly games, such as Oreo stacking and household scavenger hunts.

The remote lessons featured something many students didn’t get this spring when the coronavirus forced instruction online: the learning of new material.

Wislocki’s students at Stonegate Elementary in Irvine, California, still covered the core math and English standards that would have been taught in person from mid-March to the end of the school year. 

Brandon Wislocki, a fifth grade teacher at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine, Calif., starts many of his virtual classes by singing to students.
Brandon Wislocki, a fifth grade teacher at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine, Calif., starts many of his virtual classes by singing to students.

The experience suggests online learning doesn’t have to be bad. There are ways to make it more engaging and effective, education experts said. But

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9 questions to ask to vet your back-to-school choices

In Brandon Wislocki’s fifth-grade class this spring in California, daily virtual classes were an experiment in creativity.

The Zoom sessions featured guitar playing, group discussions about literature, live math lessons, checks for understanding through Zoom’s chat function, and silly games, such as Oreo-stacking and household scavenger hunts.

The remote lessons also featured something many students didn’t get this spring when the coronavirus forced instruction online: the learning of new material.

Wislocki’s students at Stonegate Elementary in Irvine, California, still covered the core math and English standards that otherwise would have been taught in-person between mid-March and the end of the year. 

Brandon Wislocki, a fifth-grade teacher at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine, California, started many of his virtual classes by singing to students.
Brandon Wislocki, a fifth-grade teacher at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine, California, started many of his virtual classes by singing to students.

The experience suggests online learning doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, there are ways to make it more engaging and effective, education experts say. But schools

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Teachers, Parents Raise Concerns About MCPS’ Back-To-School Plan

ROCKVILLE, MD — Teachers and parents are voicing their concerns about student and staff safety under Montgomery County Public Schools’ reopening draft plan.

More than a dozen people submitted testimony ahead of Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, in which many said the district cannot afford to reopen schools before COVID-19 — a respiratory disease that has sickened nearly 16,000 Montgomery County residents — is better managed or has a vaccine.

Maryland’s largest school district released its back-to-school action plan on Saturday, which has students returning to school on Aug. 31. All students will take classes online before eventually returning to school on a part-time basis.

School officials say the action plan is subject to change based on community feedback and current health conditions.

Christina Vivian, who has taught in Montgomery County for seven years, believes classes should be held online until at least November, as stated in MCPS’ draft plan.

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Coronavirus Pandemic Shifts Back-to-School Spending

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t stopping parents from hitting the back-to-school sales, but it may be changing what’s on their shopping lists.

Back-to-school spending for children in grades K-12 is expected to hit $28.1 billion — or $529 per student — which is relatively flat from last year, when $27.8 billion was spent, according to the 2020 Back-to-School survey by international accounting and professional services firm Deloitte, released July 8.

However, the uncertainty over whether students will be learning in-person or virtually is driving many parents to spend more on technology upgrades.

Improving the learning experience with technology

As the school season nears, parents have a lot on their mind. Two-thirds of the parents surveyed said they were anxious about sending their children back to school this fall because of the pandemic.

In addition, a majority of parents were not satisfied with their children’s learning experience during the last school year.

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