HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville City Schools (HCS) students head back to the classroom in one week, but teachers are getting their homework done a little early.

Tuesday marked HCS teachers’ first day back after summer break and while time was given for classroom setups and lesson plans, there was extra attention put on safety.

“We are doing some fine-tuning,” Lee High School Principal Tony Woods told News 19. “Nobody is ever 100% prepared but we’re making sure teachers and employees know not to prop doors open. Little stuff like making sure you have your ID badge on, and refreshing the ALEs training for the ones who have had it and for our new employees fully.”

From mass shootings to COVID-19 cases being on the rise, these trainings provided an extra sense of awareness for teachers. Woods said he wants to ensure that teachers and students feel secure in the safety measures that have been put in place.

While preparing lesson plans, concentrated focus was also put on helping students who might feel behind after virtual learning through the pandemic.

First-year Lee High School teacher Olivia Cooper said a natural desire to love and protect your students is a trait that’s hard to teach. “I respect them, I teach them and I care about them. And even now speaking with what’s happened over the past few years, they need it even more and they’re not shy about saying that they need it.”

HCS students will report back to class on August 2. For a full list of back-to-school dates, click here.