SALT LAKE CITY (ABC) – Tuesday marks the first day of school in Salt Lake City and with the new school year comes new changes and challenges. 

It was a good day for many of the kids at Emerson Elementary, students said despite first of day school nerves, they liked it.

Some of the highlights of their days included one girl seeing her brother at recess, one 3rd grader learning how to multiply and a first grader having a fun teacher.  

But it’s not just the kids who were excited, parents were too, especially now that COVID-19 protocols are relaxed. 

“I’ve got a first grader here at Emerson Elementary and a third grader and they’re just thrilled to be back in school, we’re hoping for a somewhat normal school year,” Emerson Elementary parent Liesl Einerson said. 

This is the first year since the pandemic at Salt Lake City School District where things are starting to go back to normal, with optional masks and full in person learning. 

“We’ve been so careful in this district to do everything we can for student safety and the wellbeing for our employees, but it is really nice to just feel like we can breathe again,” Salt Lake City School District spokesperson Yándary Chatwin said. 

One teacher said the school still takes precautions to avoid unnecessary germs, but it is nice to see things look normal again.

“It’s definitely a breath of fresh air,” kindergarten teacher Jennifer Cologna said. 

But like schools across Utah, Salt Lake City School District faces staffing shortages. One teacher pointed out a lack of substitutes. 

“Often other individuals from our school building get pulled from their roles, so just not having that coverage makes for a hard day,” Cologna said. 

One parent also said she’s concerned about the district superintendent still being on leave. 

“I am disappointed that our superintendent is not currently working or is on administrative. leave I wish they could hurry that process up and get him back to work,” Einerson said. 

But district leaders and teachers assured parents the school board and superintendent are in mediation, and they want to be transparent. 

And when it comes to the schools, teachers said things are running smoothly, teachers know what they’re doing and they’re excited about the new year, just like the kids.