HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Thousands of students on the Peninsula and in Northeastern North Carolina returned to the classroom Monday.

Virginia schools in the WAVY viewing area that returned Monday include Gloucester, Hampton, Mathew County, Newport News, Williamsburg and York County. All schools in Northeastern North Carolina welcomed back students Monday.

WAVY stopped by Kiln Creek Elementary School in Newport News as the first day of the new year got underway. The “Kangaroos” have a new principal this year, Paula McConnell. McConnell and the rest of the team have been hard at work getting ready for students.

Newport News and Hampton city public schools students are headed back earlier than ever before because of a relatively new state law that lets local school boards set the first day of school no earlier than 14 days before Labor Day.

Meanwhile, high fives and clapping greeted students at Central Elementary School in Elizabeth City. Teachers told 10 On Your Side they are excited to see a year start fairly normal this year, following two years of heavy COVID-19 mitigations.

New Superintendent Doctor Keith Parker is proud to be a part of a community that truly rallies around the people who dedicate their lives to children, he said. “We have amazing families that really believe in the power of the public schools and the ability of a teacher to change a kid’s life. Because of that we are fired up, we are ready to go, we are excited about this school year and I really know this is going to be a successful school year for every student that walks in to the front of our schools.”

Elizabeth City Pasquotank Public Schools is still about twenty bus drivers short, so everyone’s chipping in to help. Monday morning, 10 On Your Side saw the head football coach of Northeastern High driving a school bus.

Students in several Hampton Roads school districts have another full week before they return to school. Click here for 10 On Your Side’s extensive back-to-school coverage.