JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KETK) – Many East Texas students are heading back to the classroom, and said they are looking forward to a more normal year.

Students walked toward the entrance of West Side Elementary in Jacksonville on Tuesday ready, and officilas said they are ready to get the first day of school started.

“This is absolutely the most fun time of the year to get to welcome your kids back face-to-face, in-person,” said Principal Alicia Tennison.

Assistant Principal Linzee Campbell says it’s a nice change from the past two years of pandemic restrictions, such as masks and social distancing.

“It definitely looks a little more traditional this year and we’re definitely excited about that,” said Campbell.

For kindergarteners just starting their school journey, Tennison said it means they get to learn the way students years before did too.

“Kindergarten students are able to come in face-to-face. There’s nothing like having that in-person environment to learn and to learn socialization with your peers,” said Tennison.

Teachers said they are ready to see students thrive this year, getting to interact more and do more hands-on activities.

“During COVID we were pretty restricted by not having visitors in the building and students were coming back in mask and now they are working in small groups again and able to go to all their rotations,” said Tennison.

Tennison said even though restrictions are loosening, parents should still be mindful and not send their children to class when they’re sick.

Jacksonville ISD said their hope is to always do what’s best for the children. 

“Over the last few years, we’ve always done what is best for kids and students and we will continue to do so,” said Campbell.

Officials said they want to make sure it’s a healthy and happy school year for all. 

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