Shawnee Mission students began returning to school Thursday, once again in the shadow cast by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This school year, unlike the last one, is in-person for all Shawnee Mission students, but all individuals inside school buildings — including staff and visitors — are required to wear masks.
Still, most the district’s students remain unvaccinated, including all students younger than 12, who remain ineligible to get COVID-19 shots.
Despite those concerns, there was still a general sense of first-day excitement mixed with a bit of nerves on Thursday. That, at least, felt normal.
Here’s how the first day looked at Rushton Elementary School, where Shawnee Mission Post reporter Juliana Garcia hung out for the morning:
Rushton wasn’t the only school starting Thursday.
Students in all elementary schools, plus 7th and 9th graders began classes Thursday. On Friday, 8th graders and the rest of high schoolers are set to come for the first time.
On Thursday, Shawnee Mission North Principal David Ewers officially stepped into the principal role.
— SM North HS (@SM_NORTH_HS) August 12, 2021
Shawnee Mission South freshman showed their enthusiasm for the new school year.
— John Johnson (@SMSRaidersAD) August 12, 2021
Pawnee Elementary students and families capture special moments before the beginning of a new year.
— Pawnee Elementary (@PawneePanthers) August 12, 2021
New Superintendent Michelle Hubbard visited Prairie and Brookridge Elementaries on Thursday — and rode one bus to school.
My ❤️ is full! Great to see and meet so many awesome kids, staff and parents this morning. Oh, and the new therapy dog, Daisy! Special thanks to Nancy on route 178 and DS 🚌 for letting me tag along! #KeepingSMSDstrong@theSMSD pic.twitter.com/sZRgwyPyzs
— Dr. Michelle Hubbard (@DrMJHubb) August 12, 2021
Lenexa Hills students were all smiles for the first day of school.
We had an awesome fist day of school at Lenexa Hills! Our Lions are ready to ROAR!!! pic.twitter.com/9TT71oDiFS
— Lenexa Hills Elementary (@LHLionsSMSD) August 12, 2021
And Trailwood Elementary students joined in on the first day of school hype, too.
Happy 1st Day of School, Thunderbirds! pic.twitter.com/A10arwIMhJ
— Trailwood Elementary (@trailwoodsmsd) August 12, 2021
Belinder Elementary students arrived to a warm welcome from Shawnee Mission East cheerleaders.
— Dr. Steve Yeoman (@PrincipalYeoman) August 12, 2021