America has made considerable progress towards protection against COVID-19. The CDC estimates that over 56% of those 12 years and older are now fully vaccinated. One of the most informative sources of information about this is right here in our own backyard—a vaccine tracker created by the Mayo Clinic, which looks at statistics by state and age, and also offers practical information about vaccines.
As students and their parents put more focus on back-to-school preparation, there are two main areas that offer challenges. Solutions for both also continue to change.
Are we done with masks?
There’s very little argument against the return to in-person learning. Education is a social act and interaction is a necessity. In-person learning helps children and young adults form better connections which help them gain greater understanding by exposure to real-world examples from teachers and other students. It’s also more efficient for nearly every type of learning and teaching style.
It’s for this reason that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that a return to in-person learning must be a top priority. While the specific guidelines they offer may change, the CDC says that students who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus should not be required to wear face masks in school this fall—with one exception. To coincide with public transportation guidelines, the CDC recommends that masks continue to be worn by everyone on a school bus, including the driver.
Masks are recommended for anyone over the age of two if they are not fully vaccinated. This recommendation is also supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, they believe any student over the age of two should wear a mask in school no matter their vaccination status. You’ll find more information and recommendations by the CDC here. This online source also tells you when it was last updated.
Where are all the school supplies?
With more than four decades of experience helping companies produce products used in education, we’ve learned that we’re already deep into the back-to-school shopping season. It generally lasts through August, it’s likely to be extended this year. This is good news for businesses which support education. The National Retail Federation reports that back-to-school shopping amounts to an average expenditure of $850 per family.
The challenge for both shoppers and retailers is that there are still tight inventory levels and delayed shipments that will impact what’s on the shelves. We’ve found this article helpful in understanding both the supply chain shortages and its impact on prices.
Not everything will be hard to find, but shoppers will discover limited choices and stock. Comparison shopping might not be a good idea because it could be gone if you go back to buy it. The biggest areas of concern are around backpacks, stationery, sports equipment, and laptops. The limited supply means that retailers likely won’t be amenable to discounting.
These frustrations won’t catch consumers by surprise. A survey by Deloittefound that nearly 60% of shoppers know they should have finished their back-to-school shopping already because of shortages that have been reported by the news media.
A growing number of manufacturers who supply products for education are rethinking their approach to overseas manufacturing as a result of logistics. Their concern was focused on pricing. We have the solution in place. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get in touch to find out how our USA-based manufacturing can help you overcome supply chain logistics without an impact on your bottom line.
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