School supply shopping changing during pandemic

School Zone

(WSYR-TV) — With the new school year beginning this week and next, most parents have already gotten their back to school shopping lists from their districts.

But, back to school means something different for almost everyone this year. And that means the shopping list is also out of the ordinary.

“Right now, they’re just setting up offices for their kids in their living room so they can actually monitor while they’re doing schoolwork online,” said Barry Maine, the general manager at Staples in Camillus.

Maine has been working for Staples for 23 years. He knows the week leading up to school is one of the busiest times of the year.

And the pandemic has actually brought more customers into the store than usual.

“It’s more steady this year,” said Maine. “It started early and it’s been a steady pace which is really good. We can actually wait on people better.”

Parents are probably used to having items like highlighters and pencils on the list. But, there’s a lot of new items on the lists this year, including PPE.

Staples now has a whole new aisle to fill that demand.

“From hand sanitizer to sneeze guards to line cueing, safety signage for the floor,” said Maine.

Most schools are calling for PPE — on the list for Liverpool kindergartners, they are asking for headphones, sanitizer wipes and labeled plastic water bottles. They need water bottles because the school is closing the water fountains.

“Also lunch kits and backpacks this year,” said Maine. “More lunch kits because some schools are having their students eat their lunch in the classroom instead of the cafeteria.”

And though the stores are busy now, Maine expects parents will be buying more as the school year changes.

Nationally, some stores are seeing a hike in fanny pack sales as kids are using them to hold all of their COVID-19 essentials.

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