Your back to school checklist is probably already getting long. Some of these items may be on your list now:
- Get your school calendar (Fayetteville and Bentonville, for example, have theirs online)
- Make any scheduling decisions. See the CDC’s tools for making some of these choices.
- Sign up for extracurricular activities.
- Arrange after-school childcare.
- Sort school clothes and replace those that are too small.
- Donate outgrown school clothes or put them away for younger siblings.
- Get all needed vaccinations.
- Schedule haircuts.
- Get supply lists. Add shoes, lunch boxes, sports gear, and any other important items to make a master shopping list.
- Add quick breakfast choices to the list, plus ingredients for healthy snacks.
- Watch sales for items you need.
- Check on sales tax holidays (currently scheduled for August 7-8, 2021, in Arkansas) and budget so you can take advantage of savings.
- New school? Visit and see the outside.
- Figure out transportation.
- Schedule your child’s sports physical. (A wellness exam at Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics includes a physical exam, growth evaluation, and age-appropriate vaccines at one visit.)
However, this year could be different from usual. As you work through your list, you might want to consider whether virtual or in-person learning will make a difference to your plans.
Nobody knows everything
Arkansas leaders are optimistic and feel that their decisions so far have been wise. Some schools are confidently saying they’ll be 100% face-to-face, while others are offering some virtual options.
However, schools don’t know how many students they will have enrolled, how many might have fallen behind, or — in some cases — whether they will be offering virtual options.
Some schools fear that students will have trauma to deal with. Many schools have delayed building projects. These are just a couple of the uncertainties schools face.
Schools in different towns had different circumstances to deal with in 2020. Talkbusiness compared Elkins, where every student has a Chromebook, with Star City, where 65-70% of students didn’t have broadband. They will certainly be facing different situations in the fall.
Get into connection with your schools now to make sure you will receive all the updates you need to receive between now and fall of 2021. Try to build a little flexibility into your planning. And go ahead and get started with your checklist!