Back-to-school shopping will look different this year

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From backpacks to notebooks, glue sticks and dry-erase markers, back-to-school shopping for all the necessary items students need before they head back to class is here. But this year is different.

Typically school supply lists are shared with local stores, but more Target displays sit empty this year.

Mary Cherico is a parent of two in the Osseo Maple Grove school district. She’s decided her girls will attend the distance learning academy through the district but still bought supplies just in case.

"I thought, you know, if we decide to go, I thought everyone would do a last-minute panic and everything is going to be gone, so I thought I’m just going to buy everything and hopefully we will get to use it," she said.

The average family will spend about $529 on school supplies this year, according to a 2020 Deloitte survey.

That’s similar to last year but, according to results, what families are buying is different.

The survey found 40% of families plan to buy fewer traditional back-to-school supplies, opting to invest in digital resources, electronic gadgets and home health items, things like furniture for homeschooling and hygiene products.

"When I looked at the list and saw Clorox wipes, I thought, "Can you even find them right now? We’ve been looking for those for two months," said Cherico.

School districts are aware of the dilema. In Buffalo Hanover Montrose Schools, the district took inventory of current supplies and opted for a shorter list this year to ease the strain on families.

Despite starting the year with distance learning, Minneapolis schools sent out information stating all students will need basic school supplies, and new on the list of needed items this year: disposabe facemasks.

Spring Lake Park schools will start the year via hybrid learning, and their school supply list will come out Aug. 14.

It’s a stressful time for schools, students and families trying to prepare for what is, in many cases, the unknown.

"Right now, we’re just trying to focus on what we can do to prepare for the things we can, and go with the flow for the things we can’t," Cherico said.