School Backpacks and COVID

Back view of young student wearing BackTpack carrying a soccer ball in the playground

It is exciting to get back to school, but not with back pain from increased backpack use. Classrooms are being modified for students and teachers to return safely to school during the COVID pandemic.  Many of these adjustments require increased use of backpacks.

COVID modifications in school environments increase backpack use

  • The hybrid system of teaching requires more books to be carried. With this system, students do as much work in the home as in the classroom.
  • Students may no longer have access to lockers nor the ability to hang backpacks close together in a classroom as was done before the pandemic. Therefore, they will need to carry loaded backpacks throughout the school day, and may need to keep them at their seats.
  • There are more classrooms with fewer students due to physical-distancing requirements. Students will walk longer distances on campus while carrying their backpacks to reach their new classrooms.
  • School bus capacity is reduced due to spaced seating. Therefore, more students are walking or being driven to school.

Many children have become de-conditioned and have developed poor postural habits in the home-school environment

Our students have been at home for over a year.  Many home environments are not set up ergonomically, so students may have been slumped on couches, on the floor, or on their beds doing their homework. They may be de-conditioned, especially for increased backpack use. These prolonged positions set them up for spinal issues when adding their typical loaded backpack.

BackTpack reduces risk factors for back pain and discomfort associated with increased backpack use

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Two sisters facing one another happily hand-in-hand wearing their bright colored BackTpacks

 

BackTpack's design provides advantages relevant to the new school environment to reduce further physical stress on students

  1. The force on the spine of a given load is reduced by a factor of 7 or more when transferred from a typical school backpack into the axial-loading BackTpack. The load then feels much lighter to the student.
  2. BackTpack does not distort posture as do common backpacks. Students can stand tall, move and walk normally and comfortably for long distance ... and can even run comfortably with it on, unlike a backpack.
  3. Students can sit in their chair with the BackTpack on. If they choose to remove it, it drapes on either side of the seat, making it easily accessible and easy to put on. Therefore, with no lockers, it is safe and convenient.
  4. With BackTpack's Lap-Strap feature, you can get into your sidebags even with shoulder straps off.If students take the bus, they are spaced and it is easy to sit on the bus wearing the BackTpack.  No need to put it on the floor or elsewhere.  It stays with the wearer without contamination. No need to handle the heavy bag.
  5. Same with carpooling. Students can wear it in their seat. Parents like this because they don't have to lift heavy backpacks into the trunk and lift them out again.Three brothers in the back seat with their BackTpacks on, no problem
  6. The major benefit of using BackTpack is the reduction of pain and the health of the spine. This is especially important during the growth period. Students have had enough stress and don't need to return to back pain!

BackTpack, a durable solution

BackTpack is sufficiently durable, washable, and adjustable to last throughout the school years of a child, on average 10 years or more.  There is no need to purchase a new backpack each year. Once children have experienced the comfort and ease of movement with BackTpack, they don't want to go back to a backpack.

Seeking more input from teachers and families

I am gathering information from school districts, teachers, and families on the adjustments in their schools and how it affects backpack use.  I would appreciate hearing from you about your unique situation.

Posted in Articles.

Marilyn von Foerster PT

Marilyn von Foerster is a practicing physical therapist with a focus on posture and spinal health. She is also the designer of the BackTpack, the natural way to carry.

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