POSTED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:00am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — This will be another difficult and emotional morning in Newtown, Connecticut.
For the first time since the deadly shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary - students and teachers who survived the attack will be back in class.
Crews have refurbished what was an empty middle school here in Monroe about 7-miles from Sandy Hook Elementary - one of so many changes in this community since the tragedy.
A blanket of fresh snow covers the spot where a mountain of stuffed animals, flowers, and candles once stood.
The sign that led to Sandy Hook Elementary has been pulled from its hinges, but this morning, there will be school again. "I'm not exactly sure how we're going to react to it...It's gonna be hard," said parent David Connors.
Most everything here has been difficult since the attack that killed 20 first graders, and six staff members at Sandy Hook.
Today, in a new building, in another town 7 miles away, survivors will be together again. "They want to see their teachers...they wanna see their classes...they wanna get back into their routine." said Connors.
Furniture has been moved in from their old school.
Book bags and jackets put in the same places they were when students rushed out, and the sign outside has even been changed. "If we can do anything to bring some type of, I don't think you can say normalcy, but some type of normal learning environment for these children and for the teachers to teach in then we're happy to do it, said Chief John Salvatore of the Monroe, Ct. Police Department.
Still most in this struggling community realize little will be "normal". "We have installed numerous different security devices at the school and we are going to remain a presence on location until further notice," said Lt. Keith White of the Monroe Police.
Counselors will also be in place as teachers, students, and families all try to find a balance - between what's been lost and how to try and move on.
Today is considered a huge part of that process, and it could be crowded inside the new school.
Parents will be allowed to stay with their kids, so they can help each other with the transition back.