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Parts of the Peninsula, North Carolina head back to school

Newport News and Hampton started the school year earlier than normal this year.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A sea of backpacks and smiling faces have returned to many schools in Hampton Roads. 

School staff in places like Newport News and Hampton greeted students with signs as they entered the building Monday morning.

“It’s my first day!” said Peyton Rose, as she was entering kindergarten in Yorktown.

Many students like Rose are excited about the new year. Though, parents on the Peninsula have mixed emotions about dropping their students off.

“I’m hoping for a safe and productive year for two of my kids,” said Newport News parent Darrell Fenton.

“We’re so excited," said Brittany Ramirez.

 "I’m sad, but it’s ok. It’s bittersweet.”

Kate Ford said her daughter couldn’t wait for her second year of pre-school.

“She’s been itching to get back to school," she said. 

"All summer she’s been talking about missing her friends.”

Ford said the excitement had her up early.

“We didn’t sleep last night because she was too excited," Ford said. 

"She woke up at 3:30 and she told me that her glasses were on and she was ready to start her day.”

This year is different compared to years prior. 

Leaders with the Newport News Public Schools division said they decided to start earlier after receiving input from families, students and staff. 

They even spoke with leaders with York County School Division, Williamsburg- James City County Public Schools and Gloucester County Public Schools, who also started school before Labor Day last school year.

They said that the early start allows schools to address student learning gaps, end the school year early and increase instructional time for students preparing for high-stakes tests such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.

Students in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Suffolk will head back to the classroom September 6th.

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