NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's that time of the year again -- summer is winding down and students are heading back to school.
This could be the most important year ever for students as so many kids fell behind trying to learn during pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.
And one major change for this year is students won't need face coverings or vaccination cards -- because classrooms will look a lot more like they did in 2019 before the pandemic changed so much.
Meanwhile, New York City is taking steps to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts and districts in our area are fighting teacher shortages.
Eyewitness News addressed these topics and more during our Back to School special.
The return to normalcy in our schools
Joe Torres is taking a look at what the new normal looks like in our schools after the past two years led to various restrictions and shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are fears that some students are now behind after two years of on-and-of remote learning, but teachers and counselors are working to help kids catch up.
Other challenges include academic achievement, social integration and public safety.
One-on-one with NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks
Sonia Rincon sat down one-on-one with NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks to discuss the massive budget cuts over the summer.
He also discusses school safety for teachers and students.
How school districts are filling the gaps amid teacher shortages
Stacey Sager has more on the alarming shortage of teachers in our area and across the nation.
Eyewitness News takes a look at the unique program on Long Island to fill the gaps and attract new teaches to the profession.
Unsung heroes of the new school year
Jim Dolan introduces some of the employees who work behind the scenes to ensure schools are clean and safe and students are fed and taken care of.
7 On Your Side: Discounts for students and teachers
Nina Pineda takes a look at some of the special discounts available throughout the year for both students and teachers.
RELATED |Watch: Eyewitness News back to school town hall with Schools Chancellor David Banks
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