Sandy Hook Elementary students and teachers returning to school on Thursday

By Daniel S Levine,

On Thursday, the students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut will head back to classes for the first time since the tragic shootings on Dec. 14 that left 20 of their classmates and six adults dead.

The children will not be going back to the same building, though. ABC News notes that their old classrooms have been completely replicated at a nearby building that was the Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe. Donna Page, who was Sandy Hook’s principal until she retired in 2010, will be the interim principal, since Dawn Hochsprung was one of gunman Adam Lanza’s victims.

“Please know the inspiration you and your children have been to my staff and me as we connect with you at Chalk Hill,” Page wrote to parents on the school’s website. “Be assured that the towns of Monroe and Newtown are working night and day to ensure the facility is safe, secure, and fully operational for our return.”

David Connors, the father of 8-year-old triplets who attend Sandy hook, told The Associated Press that he is still “nervous” about his children going back to school. “It's unchartered waters for us. I know it's going to be difficult,” he said.

To help parents like Connors, the school will be hosting an “Opening Day” Wednesday, to allow parents and children to get familiar with the Chalk Hill building. The classrooms should look familiar to students, since teachers replicated their classrooms as best they could.

The school is encouraging children to take their bus as usual to help them get back in the daily routine, but parents will be able to visit them during the day.

“We want to get back to teaching and learning,” Superintendent Janet Robinson told the AP. “We will obviously take time out from the academics for any conversations that need to take place, and there will be a lot of support there. All in all, we want the kids to reconnect with their friends and classroom teachers, and I think that's going to be the healthiest thing.”

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