MASON CITY, Iowa - After months of sleeping in and enjoying fun in the sun, it's time to hit the books again for another school year.
At Harding Elementary Monday morning, parents bid farewell to their children, some of whom are in the classroom for the first time ever. Principal Brooke Brunsvold always looks forward to the start of school.
"This is one of my favorite days. The kids are excited, the teachers are excited to get everybody back in the building."
Educators have been heartened throughout this pandemic by the determination of their students. This year, the hope is students will once again meet expectations with self-driven passion, logic and creativity.
"Our students are resilient, and they'll meet us with whatever expectations we set for them."
Across town, inside Ashley Andersen's classroom at Lincoln Intermediate, students are getting to know each other through a 'brown bag' welcome exercise. Students were tasked to bring five items important to them to help
"The hope is that students will see something and maybe start a conversation because of that."
With everyone back in the classroom, the task of teaching should be easier.
"I'm looking forward to getting close to normal, really getting to know these kids."
Brunsvold echoes that statement.
"We're looking for a year that's a little more normal. Super excited to start at full capacity and seeing kids in the building."
In Iowa, school districts are not allowed to issue mask mandates. Still, Mason City is recommending wearing masks inside district buildings. For the district's updated health and safety guidance, click here.