BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of students will be heading back into the classroom tomorrow and for some, it’ll be the first time in more than a year.

But things won’t be exactly the same, there will be new covid protocols – in Harford, Carroll and Anne Arundel Counties. Excitement is in the air.

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“Oh they are thrilled, I’m thrilled,” said Sue Dennicola of Harford County.

Wednesday marks the first day of school for kids in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Harford Counties.

“She’s ready to get back and my daughter never liked going to school but she’s excited to go back to school,” said Ron Williams.

But as the anticipation grows so does the concern about COVID-19.

“Teachers are very excited to have students back in the classroom looking forward to this, I’ve also talked to parents who are nervous who are worried about the spread of COVID,” said Stewart Pittman, AACO executive.

In Anne Arundel and Harford Counties, everyone is required to wear a mask inside school buildings.

“Making sure it covers your kid’s nose, mouth and sides of their face, that’s going to be critical,” said Dr. Kalyanaraman.

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But for now, face coverings are optional in Carroll County. Next week, a general assembly committee will vote on a universal mask mandate for all schools.

“There could be significant health consequences to some kids when they are forced to wear a mask for seven hours a day. That’s why these types of health decisions need to be left up to parents,” said Donna Sivigny, CCPS board member.

Students can expect a focus on hygiene, social distancing and enhanced cleaning.

Parents like Ron Williams said he’s nervous his 11-year-old isn’t vaccinated.

“We tell her to make sure she keeps her mask up and maintain some distance between her and the kids,” said Williams.

After a year of battling virtual learning, some parents said they’re excited to see their kids back with their friends.

“They are ready to go back they missed their friends they miss being around people. They need their friends they need support and they need a community outside their home” said Gladys Kemp.

Health officials are reminding parents not to send kids to school if they’re feeling sick.

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Students are also encouraged to speak up and get tested if are not feeling well.

Kelsey Kushner