ASHLAND, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Local school districts are continuing to look at local transmission of COVID-19 as they adjust their plans to resume classes during the pandemic.

North Schuylkill School District took a step forward in allowing children back to the classroom. Kindergarten through third grade students will now attend in-person classes five days a week.

First graders got to play outside Tuesday during their recess at North Schuylkill Elementary School. La’shay Williams was among them and says she missed school.

“It’s like just so fun learning so that you can learn more things,” Williams said.

District officials say they believe the best way for these younger students to learn is on school grounds.

“No matter how hard you try, nothing replaces face-to-face instruction and we are glad K through 3 are back to full-time,” North Schuylkill School District Superintendent Bob Ackell said.

Before returning to full-time classes, students spent their first week of school through a hybrid educational model.

“Face-to-face instruction with their teacher is the most effective way that our kiddos can learn to read, write, and do math,” North Schuylkill Elementary School Principal Janice Whitaker said. “The most efficiently and they get to be around their peers which is also important for social development.”

Since the younger students are back to school five days a week, they’re also taking advantage of nicer weather. Teachers are working to allow the students as much time learning outside as possible.

Most students have not returned, still wearing their masks when inside, but parents have the option to do 100 percent online learning. Teachers are still trying to find a balance.

“We’re trying our best and we’re continuing to learn every single day and every day we are getting better so we are excited to be here, with our kiddos here today,” Caroline Schuster, a first grade teacher, said.

School officials say they are fully prepared to transition to online learning if needed however their goal is to get more grades back into traditional classrooms.