MILWAUKEE — Today is the start of the school year for more than 40 Milwaukee Public Schools on the early start calendar.
Smiles were on full display at MacDowell Montessori School as students rushed up the steps with their backpacks in hand to start the school year in-person five days a week.
City leaders welcomed students back into the building in style.
After more than a year of a mixture of virtual and in-person learning, Monday, students were able to get back to the basics.
Now, although the classrooms are packed once again, safety measures are still in place.
"It's a great day," Mayor Tom Barrett said. "It's an exciting day, but it's a day we all take very seriously because of the impact that we know COVID has had on our nation and community."
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley said he is elated to see children roaming the school hallways, but understands the only way to keep it that way is through strict safety measures.
"We are doing everything we possibly can as a school community to address and mitigate all concerns," Posley said.
In the classrooms, students are separated by plexiglass barriers and masks are worn in the building. HEPA air filters and hourly disinfecting processes are also in place.
MacDowell Montessori School Student Sincere Whaley-Smith told us he's excited to see all the safety measures in place so he can continue learning the traditional way.
"It's exciting to see all the necessary changes and precautions that we are taking to keep our students and staff safe," Whaley-Smith said.
All students and staff must remain under 3% positivity rate per school in order to stay in person.
MPS School Board President Bob Peterson said it all comes down to one thing.
"The only way you can help our students the best is to get vaccinated," Peterson said.
Meanwhile, some parents faced busing problems and were told of late buses or no buses at all.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure children are here on time," Posley stated. "When we all do our part we can and will safeguard the health of our school community."
If the safety measures are followed that will mean students will finally get back to the normal school duties of reading, writing and arithmetic.