(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Back-to-school shopping looks a little different this year.
Rather than stocking up on paper, pencils and backpacks, students are making sure they're ready to log in.
“Yeah, definitely. My laptop, my Ipad, my phone, that’s how I’m going to be doing all my stuff,” said Kailey Niska, a student at Missouri Western State University.
COVID-19 sent students home early last semester, forcing education to take place digitally. Although many schools are still deciding what to do this upcoming school year, parents and students are gearing up for a year of potential online learning.
“Not only with people working from home, but heading into this new school year with more students having to do online learning, digital opportunities. We’re just seeing a huge increase in laptop sales, webcams, headphones, headsets and all the necessary supplies consumers are needing to compete in this space,” said Michael Clark, Best Buy in-home advisor.
Having personal access to an at-home laptop or computer is an added expense to families back-to-school shopping lists they probably didn't prepare for at the beginning of the year.
“Now, I didn’t have to buy the papers and pens as much. I just had to buy the Ipad,” said Niska.
But the likelihood of tech accessibility is now becoming more of a reality as COVID-19 cases continue to rise as the upcoming school semester approaches.
Clark said laptop sales have, “just been nonstop consistent growth,” since last spring when families were sent home to quarantine and move their school and work online.
Parents in the St. Joseph School District have until this Friday to decide whether their child is going to be learning online this year or heading back into the classroom.
MWSU plans to hold most of their classes online and some students are praising the university for putting their safety first.
“And I honestly didn’t even want to go to school this semester if it wasn’t going to be online,” said Niska.
Best Buy is offering exclusive deals for students through their website. Clark advises those families and students needing to purchase a laptop or similar tech for the upcoming semester, to stop by Best Buy during Missouri's Tax Free Weekend, which is August 7-9th.