NEW BRITAIN (WFSB) - Students headed back to the classrooms in the Hardware City Wednesday. 

Around 10,000 New Britain students went back to school, including over 2,000 at New Britain high school.

There are also changes in place to keep those students safe.

With in-person learning coming back this year, safety will be a top priority for students, staff and parents. That means new guidelines.

Students will head back to the classrooms in the Hardware City Wednesday.

Like social distancing 3 feet apart, wearing masks in schools, and sanitizing often.

The district is also encouraging eligible students to get the vaccine. That means anyone older than 12 years old.

A big change from last year is that attendance will be closely monitored and recorded this year.

Junior Alyana Martinez said she was hoping this will be her first full in-person year at the high school.

Her freshman year was cut short because of COVID, and last year was mostly remote.

“I’m most looking forward to being back in person and just being able to socialize with others, but also to get to know the staff and just get a better education than I was online,” Martinez said.

This year, New Britain school officials said they plan to put a big emphasis on mental health.

The superintendent said the first two weeks of school will be dedicated to making sure the students are comfortable.

“The academics will maybe have to take a backseat for a minute until students get back into the swing of things and feel comfortable in person because they’ve gone through a lot,” said Geno Ayala, a New Britain high school counselor.

Along with first day jitters, the first day of school also brought feelings of gratitude.

“The big word for me is grateful. Last year was hard for everybody in schools and I’m very grateful,” Ayala said.

The school district is holding public forums to discuss changes and answer any questions.

They held two in August and the last one is Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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