LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The last day of school can be bittersweet.
On Tuesday at Mary Todd Elementary School in Lexington, music blared from a speaker as teachers danced and laughed outside, waiting for parents to pick up their kids. The teachers walked students to their parents in waiting vehicles, waving goodbye and wishing them each a good summer.
"There's always that excitement, everybody looks forward to summer break," Principal Michael Jones said.
But this school year has been like no other.
"It's been quite a year," said Jones, who just completed his first year as principal at Mary Todd. "A lot of adjustments."
The district kept students in virtual learning due to concerns with COVID-19 for much of the year. But Fayette County students were able to finish out the school year in person.
"If nothing else, COVID kind of proved that point that we are all in it together," Jones said.
Stacie Kiser, the parent of three Mary Todd students, said her children were glad to be back in the classroom but were ready for summer.
"They're really excited to finally get to go out of town and be able to do more," she said.
But when it comes to next school year, many parents hope their children will return to a normal classroom experience.
"That's our goal. Back to normal," said Greg Prince with Let Them Learn Fayette County, a group that advocated for students to return to in-person learning throughout much of the school year.
Prince would like to see the mask requirement dropped in schools. The state's mask mandate will be lifted June 11.
Fayette County Public Schools COVID-19 Core Team will meet early Summer to give families an idea of what to expect for the fall, said Tyler Murphy, Chair of the Fayette County School Board.
"The governor indicated today that we can expect a normal, to use his word, start to the school year," he said. "So that's something that we're hopeful for."
Murphy encouraged people to get vaccinated. The shot was available to eligible students at clinics in each Fayette County high school on Tuesday. Looking back, teachers and students accomplished a lot, he said.
"The fact that we got to this point in the school year is an accomplishment and a product of us coming together and persevering through all of this," he said.