ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Anaheim Elementary School District welcomed students back to school Thursday morning.
"I think he'll be fine," said Miriam Rico, a parent dropping off her son. "I think I'll be the one with the waters today."
"We're so excited because for the first time in three years we can start the school year with masks being optional," said Dr. Christopher Downing, the district's superintendent. "And there's just so much optimism that we can return to those pre-pandemic conditions that we enjoyed so much."
With 24 campuses, including one online academy, the district currently serves 15,000 students. Some parents have concerns but overall said that are glad to have their students back in-person.
"I mean you're letting them go into the wild you can say. It's exciting at first but then with everything going on it's kind of scary," said Isabel Aguirre, another parent. "But we try to keep it positive for them because they don't really know what's going on out in the world."
To prepare to receive the thousands of students, the district made a few changes. To provide more support for students, the district increased the number of TK classes from 35 to 43 with a student to teacher ration of 12 to one. They've reduced the class sizes for all grade levels and they've increased the number of counselors from one to two per campus to help meet the social and emotional needs of the kids.
"We're also rolling out red carpets and balloons, so it's just going to be a celebration," said Downing. "And we are so excited for all of education to return to these great conditions of learning."