When the bell rang at schools in Bethel Monday, students started the day in small groups, talking with adults about how to understand what had happened in Newtown last week.
"It was an opportunity for kids to talk about what was going on with them and the reactions taking place," said Superintendent Kevin Smith. "The teachers' responsibility was to reassure them our schools are safe and to provide social emotional support and comfort."
Since the shootings in Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, schools across Connecticut have been working to help students adjust. At Bethel schools, Smith says students may soon face a "new normal."
One change, Smith says: when visitors come in, they'll have to show identification. He also says a security company visited schools Monday, and will make recommendations for other changes.
"In addition, it goes without saying all of our folks have been on high alert and looking not only outside the building but inside," he says. "They're making sure our procedures are tight. We've been working closely with the police department and they've provided police presence at each of our schools and added additional patrols. That's been comforting and reassuring."
Attendance was lower than usual Monday in the middle school and elementary schools, Smith admits, but it has been steady since.
Patch will provide updates to this story as they become available.