After a month-long summer vacation, and a week of extended holidays, thousands of students — many of them for the first time — geared up for the 221-day academic year ahead.

While school corridors came alive again, so did the roads surrounding them, which witnessed traffic snarls after a month-long hiatus. Several schools began classes as soon as the textbooks were distributed. This year, class IX State Board students will follow the Continuous and Comprehensive Education pattern, which was in place for classes I to VIII last year.

The toughest part of the day for schools and at least some parents was dealing with those entering schools for the first time. Some like K. Umarani, whose daughter had joined a new school for her class I, came early to pick her up. “She seems to have sailed along. The teachers said that she did not cry. But, she did not eat lunch because she misplaced her bag when she was sent to another section,” she said, as her daughter, in an oversized uniform, tagged along.

Others had already made preparations. An HM of a Chennai Primary School, said that she had encouraged new students to spend some time in the school even before classes began. “There were around four absentees, and we will go their houses tomorrow to check,” she said.

In some cases, said Sheela Raghavan, principal, TI Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Ambattur, parents stayed back for the morning assembly.

For J. Annie, a class VIII student, the first day was not just about meeting friends and teachers but also figuring out her classroom and meeting her class teacher. Annie, who came with an empty bag, went back toting two textbooks and 25 notebooks.

Akila S. and K. G. Aishwaryaa, who study in a CBSE school in the city, found the transition from class X to XI quite stark. “We have two periods of each subject, and the subjects are completely new to us,” said Akila. We had got used to CCE over the years. It’s back to the old system now,” said Akila.

Schools said that though they encouraged practices such as carpooling, traffic management continues to be an issue. While some schools have pushed the re-opening date for kindergarten sections to later, some CBSE schools too are reopening a few days later.

Students wait to be taken back

However, students of Doveton Boys Higher Secondary School and Doveton Girls Higher Secondary School, who were issued transfer certificates some days ago, wait to be taken back. Among the 28 are class X students P. Vijaykanth and S. Yogeswaran. “All his friends were in school, while he was at home. He is very upset,” said R. Paneerselvam, Vijaykanth’s father. N. Anand, president, The Doveton group of schools, Student Parent Welfare Association said that they were counting on the school education department to intervene.