HUDSON FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A cool, sunny Tuesday morning in Hudson Falls meant a lot of firsts.

At Margaret Murphy Kindergarten, as at the whole of Hudson Falls Central School District, it meant the first day of school; the first for the district’s new batch of pre-k students, and the second first set within the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kindergarteners Cole and Evelyn are ready for the new school year in Hudson Falls, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

It was also the first such first for Superintendent Daniel Ward, in his first year in his post. On Tuesday morning, Ward made his rounds first to Hudson Falls High School and then to the kindergarten, to shake hands with families and see off the students smiling under their face masks.

Like their neighbor districts around the North Country, Hudson Falls is planning the burgeoning school year around getting kids in the classroom in person, every weekday. Although state guidance didn’t come until August, Ward said the district was able to prepare well within the scope of what they knew to expect.

Kindergartener Harper and her mom pose for a photo on the first day of school in Hudson Falls, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

Some work is still ongoing. As kids filed into their classrooms on Tuesday, the district was still a couple days away from finalizing their protocol for coronavirus testing, and was still waiting for some more details from the state of New York, in cooperation with Washington County.

An in-person school year is what everyone wants, but Ward said the district is ready to adapt if the state should mandate remote learning again, should case numbers rise high enough to warrant it. But for now, he takes joy in seeing happy faces wave goodbye to their parents and come to learn, hand-in-hand.