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It’s September, and that means it’s time to hit the books once again. And more importantly: back to school shopping! I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I love more than picking out a crisp new planner or stocking up on stationary before heading back to campus. There’s something so exciting about it! *swoons*  

This year is no different. Yes, our 2020 shopping list has us trading in our loose-leaf for laptops. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have back-to-school essentials to pick up. Personal safety in a pandemic is just as important as a decked-out pencil case, especially if you’ll be heading to the library or if you have in-person courses to attend.

If you’re going to be on campus at all this semester, make sure you’ve packed these items first! (Of course, remember to leave room for that flashy new planner, too!) 

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Masks:

I keep that thang on me. And by thang, I mean two masks at all times. Seriously, bring an extra. You never know what mess you might get into on campus. Plus, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, you should always wash your mask if it becomes damp or dirty. So why not have a backup when you don’t have access to a washing machine? 

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Sanitizer:

Take your pick - spray, gel, or lotion? Whatever you choose, make sure you have this with you in your everyday backpack to use right after taking off your mask or anytime you touch public surfaces on campus. Wipes are also great to keep on you; they make the perfect tool for disinfecting things like library desks or your tech. Phones and laptops are way dirtier than you think!

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Gloves:

Back in March, at the start of this whole nightmare pandemic, people everywhere went crazy for rubber gloves. Since then, experts at the Center for Disease Control have suggested that wearing gloves usually aren’t necessary for the general public, it’s recommended that we use them when cleaning or disinfecting to help stop the spread. Considering they weigh next to nothing in your backpack, it’s almost too easy to just toss a pair in your backpack.

Water & Snacks:

While it may be safer to stay home, sometimes there’s no way around a socially distanced trip to campus. If you’re going to study at the library, hit up a lab, or attend a meeting on campus, be sure to bring lots of water, snacks. This way, you can limit the amount of contact you have with others by avoiding the campus cafe or restaurant. The fewer people you include in your close-contact bubble, the better, right?

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Lotion:

What do you get when you mix cold weather and 24-7 sanitizer use? Dry hands! Keep your skin feeling silky and soft by storing a portable lotion in your backpack. Handy in a normal autumn, even handier during a pandemic! 

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Former study-abroad girl who won't shut up about it! Big fan of Harry Potter, politics, strong coffee, baby goats, and oxford commas. Elisabeth is a senior at uOttawa, studying communications and political science.
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