This was not a normal first day of school. Other than a few school buses and a slow trickle of five-year-olds and their parents, it was really quiet outside of the Bowman Elementary School in Lexington.
"It's good to get back and see the kids smiling again," said crossing guard David Hadley, who noted the small number of walkers and cars at drop off. "Today was a breeze."
Seeing the kids again was a refreshing dose of normalcy for Hadley, even though his uniform came with extra gear this year, like a face mask.
District leaders are phasing students back into their buildings, starting with kindergarten. Third graders Lynn Mason and Gyan Robinson are starting their weeks remotely, but will be back in their classrooms Wednesday. They helped drop off younger siblings with their parents.
They say they can't wait to see their friends. Gyan’s mom, Neha Robinson, was excited too, but she had a few concerns.
"I’m certainly nervous about how everything is going to work with the remote learning [days] and the learning around that," said Robinson.
Parent Brian Mason said he's happy his son will be back in school. "Kindergarten is a big deal!" he said. But he admits, he’s also a little nervous about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the school year.
"But I trust the school and the administrators and the kids and their parents," he said. "We’re all doing the best we can."
Lexington’s COVID infection rates are low right now, which helped ease some parent's concerns.
"So we thought, if not now, when would we do it? And so this is what we’re going to try," said Wendy Carlton.
After school Carlton said she was still feeling good about her decision.
"When we picked everyone up, everyone was still wearing masks and they really staggered release as well," explained Carlton.
She says seeing all of the safety precautions the school is taking eases her mind as a parent. So does hearing that her son, Landon, had a good first day of kindergarten.
"He said it went great. And he was the one I was really concerned about," says Carlton.
Landon was a little shy, but he did say his favorite part of the day was lunch.
"We ate outside," he explained.
And because that’s one of the state's school reopening safety recommendations, Landon will likely get to eat lunch outside a lot more this fall.
This segment aired on September 15, 2020.