NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- It's going to be a wet start as tens of thousands of students head back to school Tuesday, including children in Newark and Yonkers.
Perhaps it is a rite of passage to have butterflies before school starts, so 10-year-old Zah'yaa Green is not alone.
He says he's afraid of having to go to a new school, but his style proved otherwise. He's ready to soar in his new kicks.
In Newark, the first day of school comes on Tuesday morning. The district says they are ready to welcome their young scholars back to the classroom, with open arms and masks.
"I think it's good they stay with masks and wash their hands as much as possible," father Jerome Holman said.
Newark Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Roger Leon said there are over 38,000 students returning to school. He says it's the highest enrollment in 35 years.
"I'm looking forward to learning more about math and algebra and more English words," 12-year-old Cristina Jackson said.
Parents shopping for last-minute school items, tell Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang that hand sanitizers are now as critical as paper and pens.
"We were diligent and getting those items as well as Clorox wipes and things of that nature," said one mother.
"Sanitize, always sanitize," mother Donell Cauldwell said. "It's better to be safe than sorry."
Elizabeth Oates runs an early childhood facility and was shopping for welcome back items for her teachers.
"They're equally as nervous and stressed as the kids," Oates said.
With COVID safety still a concern, Newark officials say they will decide later in the fall whether to keep the mask mandate for the rest of the year.