Going Back to School or Work? Stay Safe from the Delta Variant with These Five Items

Precautions to avoid the spread of viral diseases, covid 19.
Vadym Pastukh / Getty Images/iStockphoto

As children, teachers, and staff prepare for a return to school, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for their wellness and safety, given the dangers of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

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Emphasizing that “students benefit from in-person learning,” the CDC is recommending that students return to school with masks and social distancing measures in place.

It’s likely that, as students return to in-person instruction, parents and other workers will also return to the workplace. Remaining extra vigilant about mask-wearing can help protect yourself and your colleagues from the Delta variant — even if you’ve been vaccinated.

As you’re grabbing pencils, pens and oh-so-many packs of sticky notes for your kids, you may want to do some shopping for your return to the office, as well.

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What are some of the supplies you may want to add to your back-to-work kit this year?


Prior to the pandemic, only medical personnel and first responders regularly used the term “PPE.” Now, nearly everyone knows it means “Personal Protection Equipment,” and often includes a face mask, gloves and hand sanitizer.

If last year’s masks have been through the laundry a few too many times and are starting to look worn out — or if you are just bored of the patterns you own — it’s time to invest in some masks that match your new fall wardrobe.

While you’re at it, create a kit that includes mini-hand sanitizer for your bag or car and disinfecting wipes. Also, grab a larger hand sanitizer to keep on your desk at work.

Sanitizing Station for Your Smartphone and Other Small Items

UV light sanitizing boxes may be effective in deactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, says the FDA, although additional research must be done before they can say for certain. Just make sure the UV light box you purchase emits UVC rays, not UVA or UVB, which are less effective at inactivating any germs and may also be dangerous for anyone exposed to the light.

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In addition to potentially inactivating COVID-19 germs, a small UVC light sanitizing box that holds your smartphone, glasses, pens and other small items will be effective in deactivating other germs, including bacteria, that can make you sick.

Pens and Other Office Supplies

Sure, you can sanitize items each time you grab pens or sticky notes from the communal office supply closet. But it may be less stressful to take advantage of back-to-school sales right now and purchase your own to keep at your desk.

A Small Coffee Pot, French Press or Electric Tea Kettle

Going back to the office may not look the same as it did pre-pandemic. Pow-wows around the water cooler could make way for using messenger apps to communicate from across the room as people try to maintain social distance.

Consider purchasing a portable coffee pot, French press or electric tea kettle, along with the sweeteners and creams you prefer in your coffee or tea. You won’t have to pour your coffee from the communal coffee pot — or worry if one of your co-workers slipped decaf into the morning brew.

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A Fitness Tracker or Smart Watch

The latest version of many fitness trackers can detect your skin temperature and alert you to any variations. Skin temperature is not a reliable sign of illness, as it fluctuates based on the temperature in your environment. However, a large spike — especially if you are not in a warm room — could indicate that your core temperature has also risen. At that point, you’ll want to take your temperature with a regular thermometer.

A fitness tracker also has a number of other benefits for those looking to stay healthy. And while there are exceptions to every rule, those people who don’t have underlying health conditions, stay active, and maintain a healthy body weight are more likely to recover from COVID-19 and less likely to have severe symptoms. Tracking your steps and physical activity each day can motivate you to move more, says a study in the American Journal of Medicine.

While you’re back-to-school shopping for the kids, take the time to treat yourself to some items that will make your return to work easier.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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