CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s the first day of school for many in our region, and here in Kanawha County. But this year is looking different than most recent years.

Students at Mary C. Snow Elementary received a warm welcome from community members this morning and staff say they’re just looking forward to some normalcy as they enter the new year. “We have a lot of goals, and we’re looking forward to achieving those and I’m just really looking forward to seeing all the kids’ faces today and happy to see my staff too,” says Destiny Spencer, the Principal at Mary C. Snow Elementary.

“We don’t have to wear masks it’s optional so this is the first time in a couple of years that it’s been that,” says Spencer.

Many students say they’re excited to be back, however, the parents…not so much. Ashley Revels who has two children enrolled at Mary C. Snow says she feels unprepared but is excited for her kids.

“I don’t know if I was ready to get up and do this all over again but they are just excited to go to school and I wasn’t excited to go to school back when I was in school so I’m glad that they’re keeping that energy that they love to learn and they love to go to school,” says Revel.

And while every year brings new challenges, the future looks bright for students in the Kanawha Valley.

“We still have to teach a lot of social skills and things like that but I know that they are excited to get back with their friends and just play and learn, so I know they’re going to have a good year.”

Destiny Spencer, Principal, Mary C. Snow Elementary

There will be extra law enforcement in Kanawha County school zones this week, as the district is emphasizing safety this school year as well.