BLAKELY, Pa. — Snow on the ground is not a normal sight for the first day of school.
But even though it is February and students have technically been taking classes online for months, the first-day jitters are still very real here at Valley View Elementary School.
"Last night, I know speaking to teachers and even for the kids, it was hard getting to sleep because you were so excited. It is like the first day of school all over," said Valley View Elementary School Principal Maria Kishel.
Students at Valley View Elementary and Intermediate Schools were welcomed back to the buildings for the first time since last March on Tuesday.
Grades K-5 will do in-person classes 5 days a week.
6th graders started their hybrid schedule this week, and the rest of the middle school students and the high schoolers will go hybrid starting March 8.
Newswatch 16 stopped by Mr. Callejas' first-grade class just before dismissal.
"It was good because I got to see all of my friends," said 7-year old Lucas.
Then finally, after a long first day, dismissal arrived. Students going home on busses went first, and then parents picking up.
"Everyone survived. He was happy, no tears," said Stephanie Bortree, picking up her son from his first day of first grade.
Parents and students do still have the option to stay virtual, but around 80 percent chose to come into the building for in-person classes.
"A little bit scary, I think for everybody, being out of the building with the kiddos for the full year. It's like riding a bike. We're back in the swing of things. Kids are having fun, and they're learning, and they're safe," Principal Kishel said.
Masks, social distancing, and temperature checks for every student every morning are just some of the precautions being taken to keep the kids safe.