ST. LOUIS – The alarm clocks went off early once again for many metro-east students Monday morning. 

Multiple districts in the general metro-east area are starting the new school year Monday, August 15. 

Among them is East St. Louis District 189, the Mascoutah School District, the Freeburg School District, and the Central School District in O’Fallon, Illinois. We were at East St. Louis Senior High School Monday morning where classes began on this first day back at 7:30 am. 

About 1,200 students attend school there. The principal, Alonzo Nelson, Senior told us that COVID safety is a top priority. Masks are encouraged for students and staff but they are not required. Another new initiative for secondary schools in District 189 is that students must have clear backpacks. 

School officials said it’s another way to help make the school environment as safe as possible. We talked with two seniors about starting their last year of high school. 

“I’m excited. I know that we got a lot of new people in the building, a lot of new students, a lot of new teachers, and a lot of new opportunities,” Jeremy Avan said. “I feel like as a class we’ve been so divided and so much tragedy that’s happened so I feel like this is a good year for us to bounce back and finish strong.”

Jada Pomerlee added, “I’m excited to see new people along with doing things with the marching band. This will be my fifth year doing marching band. I’m really excited to see who my new teachers will be, how would they act around us, just so excited to get this last year’s school experience.” 

More districts in the metro-east start on Wednesday while many districts on the Missouri side of the river start next Monday.