During the open house on Wednesday, Alvarez said his 8-year-old daughter also got to pick out a stuffed animal to take home from the school library.
"I'm not worried about her going back," he said of his daughter Cynthia. "The fear kind of kicks back in a little bit, but we're very excited for her and we got to see many, many kids today. The atmosphere was very cheerful."
Several signs welcoming the Sandy Hook students to their new school were posted along the road leading to the school in a rural, mostly residential neighborhood. One said "Welcome Sandy Hook Elementary Kids," while a similar sign added "You are in our prayers."
Teams of workers, many of them volunteers, prepared the Chalk Hill school with fresh paint and new furniture and even raised bathroom floors so the smaller elementary school students can reach the toilets. The students' desks, backpacks and other belongings that were left behind following the shooting were taken to the new school to make them feel at home.
Counselors say it's important for children to get back to a normal routine and for teachers and parents to offer sensitive reassurances.
One parent, Robert Bazuro of Newtown, said he was pleased that school was resuming Thursday for the Sandy Hook survivors. He brought his two children, who are in the second and fourth grades, to a barbershop Wednesday morning.
"We're very happy the kids are going back and we're very thankful for Monroe for everything they've done for us," Bazuro said. He said his children weren't at Sandy Hook on the day of the shootings. He declined to elaborate.
When classes start, Robinson said teachers will try to make it as normal a school day as possible for the children.
"We want to get back to teaching and learning," she said. "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."
Eaton-Robb reported from Hartford, Conn.
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