The first full day of classes is about to get underway, but there was no denying the excitement felt Tuesday as children returned to school for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.
From an administrative perspective, this is a week spent canvassing schools for any enrolment pressures and listening to any concerns parents, students and staff might have, said school district Supt. Terry Sullivan.
"It's a week of working through those issues, but we don't anticipate there will be a lot," Sullivan said. "There's always some, but we're prepared to deal with them."
Such concerns were furthest from the minds of the parents and children waiting outside Stuart Wood elementary for the 10:30 a.m. bell to ring.
Moms and dads talked among themselves while boys and girls played on swings or rode piggyback on parents' backs.
Back after a couple of years' absence were Michelle Gauthier's children, Kody and Marissa. The family moved from Kamloops to Canmore, Alta., because of her husband's work, she said.
They decided to move back after the floods in Alberta earlier this summer. And there was no doubt in Gauthier's mind about where her children would go to school.
"It's a good school," said Gauthier.
Kody and Marissa were excited to be back, but had yet to run into any old friends. Gauthier said they'd make new friends fast enough.
Her children attended Stuart Wood for grades 2 and 3 and looked forward to the start of grades 6 and 7.
"It's exciting," said Kody.
Minutes later, principal Syd Griffith appeared at the main doorway and rang an old-fashioned school bell.
"Good morning, Stuart Wood stars," she said. "Welcome back."
She rallied the students inside and directed them to the gymnasium for a morning assembly. Some moms followed their children inside.
Few problems were reported back to Sullivan on Tuesday. Given the district's 14,000 plus students, 50 schools, 1,500 employees and 9,200 kilometres of bus route, this was a good first day back, he said.
"Everything seems to be going well," said Sullivan. "The general impression is we've had a pretty good startup."
As with every school year, the student population is something administrators keep an eye on. Sullivan said elementary numbers have stabilized, but secondary is expected to be down.
Final enrolment numbers will be tallied for Sept. 30, which is when school districts submit the data to the province for funding.
RCMP were a presence at several schools, including Summit elementary and South Kamloops secondary. By noon, traffic enforcement officers fined two motorists $196 for speeding in a school zone and warned two others, said Cpl. Cheryl Bush.
School zones are 30 km/h from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Class begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.