Helpful hints: From face masks to a notebook, here’s a list of some back-to-school basics for the pandemic

(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

On top of the normal campus basics like your laptop and some pencils, you’ll need a couple other items to get through a semester of hybrid learning in the middle of the pandemic.

1. Masks

Everyone on campus property will be required to wear face coverings at all times, at least as the university policy stands now.

Though not required, it is highly recommended by medical professionals that people clean masks between use. As such, students should plan to have multiple masks that can be rotated and warn while others are being washed.

Masks should be worn snuggly, and cover both the nose and the mouth. Homemade masks should be made from high thread count materials and follow instructions from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

2. Hand sanitizer

Sometimes on campus, students might not have easy access to soap and water, but hand hygiene will be important for stopping the spread of COVID-19 on campus. In that case, students should plan to carry hand sanitizer with them.

Hand cleansers should have at least a 60 percent alcohol content, per Food and Drug Administration guidance.

3. Wipes

Students should plan to carry wipes in their backpacks as they may be asked to wipe down surfaces they’ve touched in classrooms or elsewhere on campus. They might also feel compelled to wipe down high-touch points they come in contact with before use — such as door handles or faucets.

For guidance on purchasing wipes for disinfecting and cleaning, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

4. Full water bottle

Some students already carry water bottles, but it will be important to make sure they’re full before coming on campus as the CDC warns against the use of drinking fountains when possible on college campuses.

5. Thermometer

Students won’t necessarily need to carry a thermometer with them on campus, but it may be a good idea to keep one on hand in case. If students start developing symptoms or are a close contact of a known positive, they may be asked to monitor their temperature.

Abigail Compton is a senior in fine arts and the Collegian multimedia editor. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to