BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — The start of a new school year is obviously quite something for students. But it’s also a milestone for Melissa Holz, who is starting her first year as principal at Chehalem Elementary in Beaverton.

Holz said the students last year were asked to do a lot during the COVID-transition year. So this year is about deeper connection and bolstering the skills they have while developing new ones.

“We can go back to bringing kids together on the carpet and having partners work together and we’re doing it safely. Masks are optional and we are still hand washing a lot and sanitizer,” Holz told KOIN 6 News. “But it’s true in going back to what we know teaching is and how we know kids learn best, so it’s a lot of fun to have that cooperative learning for kiddos.”

Getting back to teaching and learning is a sigh of relief for teachers, too, she said, adding they are fully staffed at Chehalem.

At Vose Elementary in Beaverton, kindergartners are ready to go. A few weeks ago they had a trial run for the kindergartners to meet their teachers and new classmates. For teachers it was a great opportunity to meet parents, kids and transition into what should be a normal year.

At Vose, those with last names A-L begin Thursday, with M-Z on Friday. Next week, everybody will be in school.