A torrential downpour failed to dampen spirits Wednesday morning as 1,069 students reported to the first day of classes at Prairiland ISD.

“We’re up about 33 students from last year,” Superintendent Jeff Ballard said as he observed traffic flow at Blossom Elementary School, where contractors last week completed a new parent drive. “We finally got the backup off Highway 82 even when many parents are walking their children to class.”

There were smiles aplenty from students and from parents who toted umbrellas, some with arms full of school supplies as well.

“In spite of the rain, everybody seemed excited to be back in school, and our teachers seemed ready to be back as well,” Principal Leslie Martin said. “Thank goodness for the new parent drop-off drive; we didn’t have cars backed up on the highway.”

South about five miles on FM 196 at Pattonville, Blossom Junior High Principal Brad Bassano said things went well despite the rain and the demolition going on at his campus.

“To say things are different is an understatement,” Bassano said during a phone conversation from a portable building where he offices during demolition and a remodel of the school. “The entire front side of the building is gone, and not only did we have to reroute traffic we had to reroute students inside.”

Across the way at the high school, Principal Jason Hostetler said he had Covid-19 on his mind when he addressed the more than 300 students in attendance during a brief assembly.

“I just reminded students to be aware that Covid cases are on the increase in the county, and I reminded them to practice good hygiene, bring water bottles to avoid the water fountains and to just do the little things they can do to stay healthy,” he said.

Roughly five miles away and east on Highway 271, Deport Elementary Principal Lanny Matthews said his day went off “without a hitch.”

“We had a great day here in Deport with excited kids happy to be back from a summer break and excited teachers as well,” Matthews said.

Clarksville ISD

From her multi-colored bows to her rainbow tulle-cuffed pants, Kyzley Daniels was ready for Head Start at Clarksville Elementary School.

“She’s a big girl, and she’s really smart. She’ll be fine,” her mother, KeeAutra Moore, said when dropping her daughter off for her first day Wednesday.

Parents dropped off their children under umbrellas and the awning at CES, and everything seemed to go well for the first day.

“It’s going to be a fun first day,” teacher Heather Howerton said. “The kids are getting here, and we’re excited for the new school year.”

Clarksville ISD was the first Red River Valley school to temporarily enforce face masks as Covid-19 active case numbers climbed in Red River County as part of a surge fueled by the delta variant. The students complied, each one with their own spin on the masks, from superheroes to pink-bedazzled ones, all while carrying in their new school supplies on the first day.

Honey Grove ISD also started school on Wednesday. Paris, Chisum, Detroit and Rivercrest ISDs started school Thursday. First day photos for those school districts will be printed in Sunday’s newspaper.

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