As buses rolled from Newtown, Connecticut, ribbons and posters lined the roadway to the new Sandy Hook Elementary. For survivors, it's the first day in what'll be a long and difficult journey.
"It is certainly a lot different, so it's kind of mixed emotions," said parent, Andrew Paley.
It has been almost three weeks since the attack that left 20 first graders and six staff members dead.
"It's hard to imagine the kids being there, but also the teachers being there in that incident, what that's doing to them psychologically," expressed Paley.
What's even harder to understand is what it will take to move on.
“We try not to talk about the same things over and over, trying to get back to normal,” explained parent, Lilia Alverez.
More than 400 students attended classes at a refurbished school in Monroe just 7 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary. School officials moved in desks and equipment from their old school to try and make the new classrooms as similar to those at Sandy Hook as possible. Book bags and jackets were put in the same places they were when students rushed out. Police officials were also on site providing security at the new school. Monroe Police Lt. Keith White said, "The kids all got off the bus, a lot of them were happy to see their friends they hadn't seen in a while. They're excited about the new school."
“The Monroe Police have worked very diligently with the Newtown Police so that we can all feel very comfortable and secure,” added Newtown Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson.
It is security Governor Dannel Malloy talked about Thursday, as he announced a special commission formed in the wake of the tragedy.
"We will work together to make our state model for the rest of the nation," said Malloy.
Governor Malloy wants suggestions for what he calls "meaningful policy changes" by March 15th. During that search, counselors will stay at the school for as long as the students, teachers or parents need them.