A proud mother snaps a photo Monday before the first day of school at newly-opened Kings Town Elementary School in Fort Mill (Photo by Greg Rickabaugh/Fort Mill Sun)

The Fort Mill School District returned to in-person learning Monday for the first time in five months as the “first day of school” took on a new meaning in a pandemic.

There were noticeably less students but more masks at most schools as nearly a third of students chose to go the virtual route. The Fort Mill Virtual Academy officially kicked off Monday for about 5,000 students. Enrollment across the district is slightly less than 17,000 for both in-class and virtual learning.

The district celebrated the opening Monday of Kings Town Elementary School at Masons Bend Drive, where parents drove up in cars, trucks and golf carts to drop off children. Principal Jocelyn Young wore a fancy Fort Mill Schools/Kings Town mask as she greeted parents and helped children out of their vehicles. Superintendent Chuck Epps was also seen checking out opening day at the Home of the Knights.

With the schools only accessible to staff and students, walking parents said their goodbyes outside. The district has worked since March to prepare for a safe reopening, according to Joe Burke, FMSD Chief Communications Officer.

“We put a lot of safety measures in place starting with the A-B programs, the masks, the signage for the one-wall hallway, where to stay for social distancing, buses running at 50 percent capacity,” he said. “We feel like we put together a very safe option for our students.”

A second “First Day of School” will be held on Tuesday as students in the “B” Day have their first day of in-class learning.

Video: Take a look inside local schools and see the safety measures in place for students as the return. (Photos in video provided by Fort Mill School District.)