Vineyard students went back to school today and the rhythms of a new year could be seen all over the Island as kids waited at the end of roads and driveways for school buses to arrive, and parents sat in drop-off lines at elementary schools.

In Tisbury, crossing guard Cheryl Pinkham helped direct traffic, both by car and by foot. She wore a bright yellow rain jacket and welcomed students as they gathered by grade and class on the playground, recounting their summer adventures to friends new and old.

When the bell rang, special education teacher Maria Mercier stayed behind with a rear guard of teachers and administrators, helping a few stragglers find their classes.

Tisbury School principal John Custer greets students a the door. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“Everyone here is excited, we are ready,” she said. “I think we did a pretty good job this morning. Look around, no one is crying!”

Principal John Custer wore his traditional Charlie Brown baseball tie, the same one he has worn to every first day of school for 20 years. He said he was thoroughly energized by the kids’ return.

“The heavy rain held off for the entrance, which was my big concern,” he said. “It’s so great to see the kids and the families.”

In Oak Bluffs, elementary school students posed for pictures with their parents and then after final hugs lined up behind their teachers. Principal Megan Farrell welcomed parents and chatted with teachers.

Getting ready for the bell to ring in Oak Bluffs. — Jeanna Shepard

“We’re excited to be back,” Ms. Farrell said.

She and other faculty wore shirts that read “You have the power to be kind.”

Ms. Farrell said that kindness and community will be the touchstones for the school year.

“We focus on community first … building a warm and supportive safe environment,” Ms. Farrell said. “We are really looking forward to coming back to community after two very different years,” she said.

In Edgartown, shouts and greetings could be heard from cars in the drop-off line as students celebrated returning to classrooms without masks for the first time in two years.

“It’s so nice to see all their beautiful faces and smiles and start another year of, hopefully, normalcy,” said Kate Curelli, the school’s nurse.

One last hug and a kiss. — Ray Ewing

Ms. Curelli is also the parent of a first-grader at the Edgartown School and said she is excited for students to get back to their typical routines. Without masks as a Covid precaution, Ms. Curelli said that the most important health measure was to keep students washing hands and cleaning high-contact areas, as well as making sure their mental health benefits from plenty of time outside away from screens.

“It’s about getting kids back to being kids,” she said.

Principal Shelley Einbinder echoed these priorities.

“I am so excited that we are all starting the year together unmasked in what we hope will be a typical school year,” Ms. Einbinder said. “The energy and the excitement the kids bring on the first day of school is just permeating throughout the building.”

Sgt. Dayce Moore's daughter heads off to kindergarten. — Ray Ewing

As kids trickled into the school, several parents took unique measures to mark the milestone.

Sgt. Dayce Moore, an Edgartown police officer and parent of a kindergartener, requested to work the back-to-school shift, he said, so his daughter wouldn’t miss him on her first day.

“I’d figured she’d have a familiar face when she walks in,” Mr. Moore said.

Louisa Gould, art dealer and parent of James Gould-Lamont, sent her son off to fourth grade with a poster the two of them had made together. James is an artist, Ms. Gould said, and they make a poster every year as a bonding activity.

“He complains a little bit but then he looks at the pictures and goes, ‘Aw, the first day of second grade!’” Ms. Gould said.

It's a family affair at the Chilmark School. — Albert O. Fischer

When asked if she anticipated a day James would be too old to make a poster with her, she paused.

“I hope not,” she said. “As a parent you never know when the last time is going to be, and you just accept it and enjoy it. This time we were doing it together and it was silent except for the sound of the little markers, and I noticed that we were in rhythm. It was just a mommy moment, like do you hear us? We’re in rhythm.”

Thomas Humphrey and Brooke Kushwaha contributed reporting.