CALGARY -- Shoppers in Calgary are approaching the tradition of restocking school supplies in the weeks before the start of classes with the remote-learning in mind.

At London Drugs, store managers say they are seeing more families and educators purchase tech items to support at-home education.

“It’s quite different this year than any other that I have been a part of,” said Murray File, tech experience manager.

He says many people are asking for items like headphones and microphones, as well as laptops and tablets.

“This year they were able to do a little bit more research and get the items they feel will be best for their kids to do school from home. So they are able to pick the right webcam for them,  the right microphone, (or) the right headset.”

He added, “they are coming in with a definite purpose for what they are purchasing.”

Items like wireless routers to boost connection signals are also hot sellers.

Across the parking lot in front of the nearby Walmart, shoppers say they are preparing for in-person class as much as for at-home learning in case any future outbreaks of COVID-19 should force another isolation period.

“We are not actually doing too much for clothes just in case. We will just buy stuff as they need it,” said Dee Ritchie.

She also said she is buying “the usual: paper, pens stuff that they’ll need to use at home if they come back home.”

After recent meetings with the Alberta Teacher’s Association, Alberta Education stayed course with the decision to resume class instruction as per its Stage 1 strategy with mandatory masks and physical distancing,

Although Ritchie is confident in the back-to-school plans, she says this fall is going to be distinct from others.

Another shopper believes that it’s a ritual that has been back-burnered.

“I think they have been waiting to see what’s going to happen with the schools before they decide because I think they are deciding whether or not they are going to send their kids,” said Larry Hauser, a grandfather to school-aged children.

He added, “I didn’t see as many people in here shopping for school stuff as I would see probably a year ago.”