COVINGTON, Ky. — It’s the first day of school again, but this time, kids are returning in-person.

Some school districts across the Commonwealth welcomed students back into the classroom Monday with new COVID-19 guidelines. The theme this school year is to adapt.

“Everybody, stand on your paw print, stay six feet apart,” said one teacher to a group of students.

The reminders were on repeat for students as they returned to in-person classes.

“In years past, they would rotate, but we’re rotating now,” said Tara Macke, a math teacher at Glenn O Swing Elementary in Covington.

“Our class sizes are a lot smaller. In 4th grade, we’re about 9 to 10, up to 12 in some rooms of students,” Macke said.

Macke’s Covington Independent Public School district is adopting a hybrid model for instruction with small class sizes.

Some students attend classes Monday and Tuesday, and others attend Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday saved for sanitization and virtual learning.

“Whether they were here in whole groups or smaller groups, I'm just happy to see them. I’m glad to see them through the door. I haven’t seen them since March,” Macke said.

Leading up to the return of in-person classrooms Monday, Principal Sherry Lindberg said they wanted to keep the tradition alive by welcoming students with balloons, a red carpet and music, just tweaked for COVID-19 guidelines.

“We tried to keep those elements in place as much as possible this year. And we just modified it to make sure they did stay socially distant and that they were safe with their masks,” Lindberg said.

In the COVID-19 era of teaching, masks can come off during lunch, the only exception for the school day.

“We have it set up so only two students sit at our big table and only one sits at our small tables which is going to be hard for kids,” Lindberg said.

With safety first, students will not only learn about best practices but make up for lost time from NTI last semester.

“As a teacher, it’s my job to really hit the ground running and make this as normal as possible and not make this any different than any other day of school,” Macke said.

The school district said they have a goal to collect mask coverings for more than 3,000 students and 8,00 staff members for the semester.