Well, it’s finally arrived - the 2020-2021 school year. And boy - do things look a whole lot different than usual.
From half-day or half week schedules to fully remote distance learning, schools and families everywhere are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to return students safely to the classroom.
And if that’s not enough - the list of recommended school supplies for every grade level has changed. The CDC’s guidelines for schools returning to campus require leaning on a large supply of masks, wipes, and sanitizing products. It’s all a challenge, to say the least, but it’s opening up new opportunities for schools, colleges, and universities.
By researching and choosing both safe and valuable products for your students and families, you’ll discover new ways to protect the campus with your brand.
Three considerations before you continue reading
Face Masks: Handing out face masks that don’t fit correctly or aren’t safe could put your students at risk and diminish your school’s brand. Before you consider ordering facemasks, talk with an expert, and request a sample. Our team has done the leg work and tested nearly 50 masks to make sure we’re only selling what works to our clients.
Hand Sanitizers: With so many different formulas to choose from, it can be hard to know which solution is best. The CDC recommends selecting a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based to ensure your product is adequately killing any virus causing bacteria. All of the sanitizers we sell range from at least 60-70% alcohol-based, so you can rest assured the product is doing its job.
Additionally, many people have trouble deciding whether or not to go with a spray based or gel-based solution. Based on our testing, we’ve found both to work effectively, and ultimately this comes down to a personal decision. Though gel sanitizers may offer more widespread coverage, spray sanitizers are quicker and dry faster. For schools, we recommend choosing a product with a carabiner—more on this recommendation below.
Plan Ahead: When purchasing PPE products for your school, whether it be masks, hand sanitizers, or cleaning solutions, it’s very important to plan ahead. With products in such high demand, the timeline for product shipping and delivery has grown significantly. We recommend planning at least 8-weeks ahead of time for PPE essentials you know you will need.
With those considerations in mind, here are 12 creative promotional products for the school year that will keep students safe while activating your institution's brand.
1. Face Mask Holder Lanyard
A student's day will be challenging enough. Factor in a lost facemask and that could mean the end of a school day for the student and the workday for the parent. A Mask Holder that secures masks conveniently around the neck with a Lanyard will make it easy for everyone to keep tabs on their face covering.
With two bulldog clips on each end, this face mask lanyard will also help keep masks close at hand, so students and teachers aren’t fumbling in their bags or pockets for it, risking contamination. Find it here.
We’ve created a Mask Holder PPE Kit that is perfect for sending to incoming students, having on hand for Welcome Week, or welcoming back students with a branded kit. The kit includes a 1/2" Polyester Mask Holder, a 2-Ply Dye-Sub Face Mask, and a zippered pouch with a full-color label.
2. Customized Face Mask
With so many face mask options to choose from - which face mask is best for students? We have tested almost fifty different style masks from our suppliers and have selected only the best for our clients.
Here's a breakdown of the different types of face masks and what you need to know about all of them.
For schools and universities, it’s important to combine functionality with school spirit. Think of masks as another way to express school pride. That’s why we recommend this Full-Color Cotton Face Mask.
It’s made with 2 layers of soft and breathable combed cotton and constructed with a center seam and elastic ear straps for maximum comfort and all-day wearability. Plus, it’s 100% customizable with full-color printing, solid color binding, and your choice of black or white lining and straps. Your students will wear this mask with pride, and you can rest assured it's providing them with safety and comfort.
3. Hand Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers are a PPE essential for every educational facility. But with so many concerns about touching sanitizing dispensers, why not make it easy and personal with hand sanitizers that can clip on to a backpack or purse?
This hand sanitizer spray comes with a carabiner that clips onto a backpack or purse, making it perfect for students and teachers on-the-go. It's FDA registered and approved and comes complete with full-color decal imprinting available to emphasize your brand. The sprayer measures .625"W x 5.75"H and holds 10 ml of sanitizer.
To make your life easier, we’ve handpicked a collection of popular hand sanitizers to help get you started.
4. Social Distancing Color Bands
With the current social-distancing guidelines not changing anytime soon, it will be important to find a way to keep students and teachers comfortable when gathering together. But with so many varying viewpoints and comfort levels, how do you keep everyone happy?
These unique colored social bands provide a silent way to communicate distancing preferences, keeping everyone on the same page.
The wristbands do the talking with a traffic signal color scheme. Red is for those not comfortable with contact and who are keeping their distance. Yellow signifies someone is slightly less cautious, but still not open for handshakes. Green gives the green light for contact, assuming safe hand washing measures are being practiced.
Color bands are perfect for sporting events or other school gatherings. Consider giving them out with tickets or at the door. It’s a great way to normalize this new way of life, making everyone a lot more comfortable.
5. Reusable Straw
A wave of single-use plastic bans is sweeping over the globe. In the United States, at least 11 major cities and three states (California, Oregon, and Vermont) have adopted strict laws or fines on the use of plastic straws. Globally, the list is expected to grow longer in 2021, when an EU plastic ban goes into effect. Given the trend, it may be a good time for your school to consider ways to cut back on its waste.
We’ve made it easy for you with this school-branded eco-friendly reusable straw kit. The stainless steel straw is designed for long-term use and won’t break down when exposed to cold drinks. It can be used in any size cup and comes complete with a black silicone tip made for comfort.
What’s really handy is the straw comes with a branded carrying case made of wheat, making it 100% compostable, and an easy way for students to keep their straws with them at all times. Plus, the kit’s cleaning brush will ensure the straw stays fresh, whether your students are drinking a milkshake or a soda.
6. Eco-Friendly Reusable Lunch Set
Let’s be honest; students and teachers are busy people. Most mornings probably look something like shoving a bunch of different items into a backpack and rushing out the door. This all-in-one reusable lunch set is a great way to make mornings a bit easier for those on-the-go, while also helping your school cut back on waste.
Complete with a fork and knife combo, the kit is made of a wheat straw container and a stylish bamboo lid, making it another 100% compostable item. It’s also microwave and freezer safe, BPA Free, and meets all FDA requirements. Choose from five different colors, customize it with a laser engraved logo, and you’ll have a lunch solution students, and teachers will love to use.
What’s even better? This lunch set doesn’t have a shelf life. Such a handy product is likely to be used even post-graduation. You’ll have students repping your school’s brand on their next life adventure - which means a network of brand ambassadors across the country.
7. Academic Planner
In this digital era, you would think the old school physical planner is a way of the past. But check this out. The Wall Street Journal reports retailers like Target and Michaels have dedicated more and more shelf space for paper planners over the past year because of increased sales. Want more proof? Check out #PlannerAddict on Instagram. With 5.4 million posts, people have fallen in love with the creativity paper planners offer.
Scientific research is backing up the new craze, suggesting that writing by hand helps people retain information better, something that’s especially important for things like important dates and work deadlines.
So a student planner is a promotional item you can be sure your students will use. But with so many choices out there, what’s the best version for your school?
We’ve selected these unique hybrid planners, which can be used as both a notebook and a calendar. Available in three convenient sizes (small, medium, and large) and two different binding options (perfect or wired), these planners give you the flexibility to choose what’s best for your student population.
This journal’s calendar feature can even be customized to match your school schedule, with specific dates and events unique to your school. Each version’s calendar is 12 months and comes complete with 70 sheets of premium, opaque writing paper perfect for taking notes.
Select from a variety of different colors, and brand your logo on the cover to give your students a resource they’ll love to show off all year long.
8. Laptop Backpack
With laptops and tablets being more essential than ever before in student learning, schools need to find a safe way for everyone to carry their devices without risking damage. Backpacks have always been a popular giveaway item, but this year it’s important to select one that will provide security for those expensive electronics.
This specific backpack is designed with a padded laptop compartment made to hold most 15-inch laptop computers. It’s also made with a gusseted zippered front pocket with a protective flap, ensuring strength and durability.
With adjustable and reinforced padded shoulder straps, the bag is perfect for younger and older students of any size, shape, or height. Your students will also love showing off your school’s heat transferred logo, which can be imprinted front and center on your choice of either a jet black or royal blue bag.
9. Sticky Notebook
Sure, sticky notes are helpful in keeping track of dates and deadlines. But having stacks of loose notepads shoved in folders or stuffed in backpacks can get real messy fast. This sticky notebook is a great way to cut down on that clutter, while still utilizing the convenience of the quick note.
Teachers will love giving these out to students, as it’s perfect for making notes in textbooks without damaging any pages. Sticky notes are also an excellent way for teachers to liven up the classroom. Students can use them to share thoughts, mark opinions, or even participate in class contests.
The book comes packed with sticky pads in three different sizes including yellow sticky notes and neon color page marker strips. It also comes with a hardcover to protect the sticky notes from any damage. The cover can be customized to proudly display your logo, debossed or printed as big as 1.875 by 2.75 inches. And with 12 different available color options, you’ll be able to find the look that shows off your school’s brand the best.
10. Soft Touch Pen and Stylus
Remote learning has students constantly shifting from touch screen devices to pen and paper. Perhaps your school has handed out some of these devices to students. If so, you’ve likely considered how to encourage students to keep them in tip-top shape.
A great first step is to keep sticky fingers away from these screens with this soft-touch pen and stylus. Featuring a soft-touch rubberized finish barrel and a stylus compatible with all devices, this pen will make the transition between remote and in-person learning simpler for students, while also keeping screens smudge and scratch-free—a double win for your school.
With eight different color combinations to choose from and a medium ballpoint tip with blue or black ink, you can choose the perfect version for your students. Our full color, photo-quality direct imprint process will also have your institution’s logo looking as sharp as ever on the pen’s metal design.
11. Spray & Wipe
Anyone with glasses knows the annoyance of face masks and foggy lenses. With nearly two out of three people using some sort of corrective wear, smudges and scratches are becoming more and more common with all that fogging. If that’s not enough, those expensive electronic devices you’re school has given out are also at risk. And if your students don’t have the proper cleaning equipment, they’ll likely be returned with looking worse for the wear.
That’s where this all-in-one Spray and Wipe comes in. This item is designed for screens and lenses and combines smudge spray and a microfiber cloth into one. The screen wiper is shaped like a block, with the soft microfiber cloth wrapped around it. With a simple squeeze, students can use the cleaning block’s flat sides to polish their phone, tablet, laptop screens, or glass lenses.
The cleaning liquid inside can be refilled with a cleaning fluid of choice, extending this promotional gift’s life. The spray’s compact size of 3.6 x .7 inches is also designed for on-to-go life, easily fitting into pockets and purses.
Make it your own by choosing from gray, blue, or red and proudly displaying your school’s logo in any color with a silkscreen imprint.
12. Custom Blue Light Glasses
A recent survey has found that screen time is up more than 500% due to the coronavirus pandemic. What’s even scarier is that number is only expected to grow as students shift to remote and virtual learning environments. Given the changes, the PEW Research Center has revealed that the majority of parents are admitting to being at least somewhat concerned about the effect this will have on their child’s health.
So what can schools do? One easy step to take is by protecting their eyes with a pair of school-branded blue light glasses.
One of the biggest concerns with prolonged screen time is the long-term adverse effects of unnaturally occurring blue light given off by devices. It’s a worrying issue, which is why we’ve done further research on the blue light problem. Check out our findings here.
Blue light glasses are the easiest solution for schools. The best versions are useful, durable, and customizable. With this specific design, you can have fun creating the perfect pair to show off your school’s brand. Choose from 22 different colors, plus full bleed and full-color imprint options. You also have control over where your logo goes, with the choice of branding the entire glasses, the inner/outer frames, or the inner/outer arms.
The unisex design will ensure no student is left out, allowing the whole school to rep a wearable and trendy eye protection.
Next Steps to Activate Your Brand
This year is going to be different for our schools across the country and the world. But don’t let these new protocols hinder your school’s branding and promotional efforts. If anything, this new way of life presents an exciting opportunity for the schools willing to embrace the changes.
Our goal is to make sure you’re selecting the best and safest products for your school and students. Whether it’s a branded PPE item or a classic school promo giveaway, we pride ourselves in solving your needs.
So take the next step to activate your brand and request your free inspiration kit today.