PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Back to school this year is bigger than it has been in the last few years for students in Tigard-Tualatin. This week, many kids returned to what they knew before the pandemic, while it was a whole new world for others.

Educators told KOIN 6 there’s less pressure this year and far less ambiguity, while teachers get to focus on what they do best — actually teaching our kids.

For the class of 2023, last year was their first full-year in the building and it came with all of those other layers.

Brian Bailey, the principal at Tigard High School, says he’s most excited to reintroduce the parts of school that make it fun, like the assemblies, after-school activities and sports.

“We get to do our kind of beginning of the year assemblies that we couldn’t do last year,” said Bailey. “So, we’ve already got a pep assembly that’s scheduled for that very first Friday where we can talk about school spirit, we can talk about what it means to be a tiger and all of those pieces that we missed out on.”

Educators say they will never again take interpersonal relationships for granted — the connections you can only make when you are in the same room as someone.

Bailey says the teacher response runs the full gamut, with some teachers coming in for weeks to prepare.

Bailey noted Tigard High is staffed up this year, but with teachers retiring or leaving 20% of the staff is new. He says he’s excited for the fresh perspective.