Back to School: COVID-19 Edition

Back to School: COVID-19 Edition

Jaclyn Krizanic

September 2, 2020

Going back to school looks a little different this year. Despite the active and mandatory measures school districts and universities have put into place, there have been unfortunate outbreaks of COVID-19. However, the one thing that seems to continue on like usual are “Back to School” YouTube videos. This content multiplies throughout social media platforms around the beginning of July and into the academic school year. Yet, the videos on YouTube’s platform seem to go just how it usually does. However, there is a focus on the sanitation and mask wearing for this coming academic year. 

Different states, just like schools and universities, all are in different aspects of trying to contain the virus. This has led to discussions about having schools be remote for different grades and colleges throughout the state of Michigan. However, not all states are remote or transitioning the majority of their courses online for this coming fall semester.

This academic year seemed to show up with a more diverse audience. Not only mainstream YouTubers were being shown or trending for this kind of content. Regular kids of all ages have decided to jump on the platform to show their new supplies and ways to handle starting the school year amid a global pandemic. An interesting element within the back to school video genre is there are actual videos of people recording themselves shopping for their supplies but through online shopping. They are filming themselves talking to the viewers through what they want to buy while exploring the online sites such as Target or Amazon. This way they are able to get items without going out. However, this usually is popular amongst other genres and not the back to school. A student who posted her video of online back to school shopping got over 180,000 views in under a month of posting. In this video the YouTuber, Sophie Michelle, shows herself browsing through the different notebooks and supplies she would need for her classes. However, there are others posting to the platform showing their trips to Target in person while shopping in a face mask. Influencers or not, it seems more people are getting in on the trend of doing a school supply review for this upcoming semester. 

Another popular aspect to this video genre includes these student YouTubers showing what’s in their backpack for the 2020 academic school year. Some YouTubers have great ideas and tips on ways to carry needed class supplies if some classes are still on campus while also trying to protect yourself and others. In an upload, “WHAT’S IN MY COLLEGE BACKPACK/SCHOOL SUPPLIES HAUL 2020”, created by Hannah Elise, she shows how she decided to put an extra pouch that is just for the holding and use of sanitizers and extra face masks to have while she is back on campus.  She says the importance of this is critical because those early mornings where it seems overwhelming and rushed, forgetting to grab a mask can be a high probability before leaving for class. She also mentions how she wanted to keep more masks in her pouch just in case other students forgot, or don’t have their own mask. 

Yet, while browsing through these different videos, the most interesting thing to see was how many people have found ways to sanitize and accessorize at the same time. Just how Elise decided to create a pouch to put only the COVID-19 essentials in, so have other students. For example, I have seen people buying earphone case holders that actually are used as a keychain on their keys that acts as a mask holder, not an earphone one. Carrying around hand sanitizer is sometimes a hassle to pack inside a purse or put in a pocket due to risk of losing it or it falling out. On Amazon there are keychain holders that contain refill sanitizer bottles that can be clipped onto pant pockets, zippers and even backpacks. 

The ability to accessorize and sanitize has become not only an evolution in the aspect of history during a global pandemic, but a useful accessory addition in order to help the population understand the importance of maintaining social distancing and taking the necessary and useful precautions.

Jaclyn Krizanic is a senior studying Professional Writing and minoring in Graphic Design. Jaclyn plans to apply her knowledge and skill sets she has gained from her major into her current, future and professional work. Jaclyn loves to write poetry and inspires to publish a book of poems and short stories upon her graduation.