Teachers Danielle White, left, and Phoebe Fast wave, ring a bell and flutter streamers Tuesday to welcome children for the first day of classes at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Teachers rang bells, fluttered streamers and waved to children Tuesday to welcome everyone on the first day of classes at the W.G. Mallett School in Regional School Unit 9.

Second-grader Harry Donoghue of Farmington stops for a photo Tuesday before his first day of classes at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington. His sister, first-grader Flora, and their mother, Samantha, wait for him. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Staff members helped children from the buses and met with parents and schoolchildren at the front of the school to make it a special day.

“We’re very excited to start the new year,” teacher Danielle White said.

“It was a smooth beginning,” RSU 9 Superintendent Christian Elkington said.

Kindergarten through ninth grade started Tuesday and will be joined by students in grades 10 through 12 on Wednesday. Depending on what group prekindergartners are in, they will start either Thursday, Friday or Monday.

Buses took a little longer to come in but that is typical on the first couple of days of a school year, Elkington said. Bus drivers are getting to know their routes and have practiced them, he said.

He watched lunchtime and the kids were fantastic, he said. They would take their masks off to eat and if they got up from their chairs they put them back on.

“You would have thought they had been doing it for a month,” he said.

Kevin Donoghue of Farmington, left, does a special handshake with his son, Harry, on Tuesday before he entered the second grade at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Staff members were very prepared and enthusiastic to welcome students, he said.

Between 1,800 and 1,900 children were expected to start school Tuesday.

The district is looking to hire a couple of bus drivers. Spare drivers have stepped up for the next two to three weeks until others are hired.

There are five or six teaching positions open and substitutes are filling in.

Elkington said he hired a teacher for one position Tuesday.

“I’ve been really impressed with the kids,” he said. “They look excited to be at school.”

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