More than 63,000 students returned to Prince William County schools this week, settling down so quickly the superintendent said it already looked like "the second or third week of school."
The county dealt with some transportation difficulties Tuesday, attributing many to traffic, the drizzly weather or inexperienced bus drivers.
However, "we have those every year," Superintendent Edward L. Kelly said Tuesday. "We'll have them again tomorrow, but I predict by the end of this week or next week, they'll be ironed out."
Prince William had hired more than 900 teachers and opened two high schools, two elementary schools and one specialty school that will house students in elementary and middle school.
At those schools, principals had to make doubly sure their schools were ready to open.
"What I'm most concerned about is making sure I haven't forgotten anything," said Battlefield Principal Jack Parker, strolling the halls 45 minutes before the 7:30 opening.
Even the teachers had a case of the butterflies.
"I'll feel better when they start walking into my room," said Kristin Hamilton, a Battlefield English teacher, before classes began.
But nothing appeared to go wrong, and the students by and large were impressed -- especially those who were able to make a comparison to other county schools. Though ninth- and 10th-graders were required to attend Battlefield or its eastern counterpart, Freedom High School, juniors could choose. At Battlefield, 224 juniors enrolled.
"It's new! It has doors and windows," said Dallas Lee, a 16-year-old who had attended Stonewall Jackson High School. Stonewall was built in the 1970s with partitions dividing classroom space, instead of solid walls.
Sarah Proferes, also a 16-year-old who had attended Stonewall, marveled at how new everything looked and at how much shorter her bus ride to school was. Leaving her old school won't be too hard, she said, because "we still have some of our same friends from last year. And it's kind of fun to make new friends."
Both students already have thrown themselves into extracurricular activities: Sarah plans to play tennis for Battlefield, and Dallas is captain of the dance team.
Manassas and Manassas Park schools also opened Tuesday, with about 6,800 and 2,200 students, respectively. The leaders of those two districts said they also saw few problems.
"Our academic achievements have been very strong, and there's no reason why that won't happen again this year," said Thomas DeBolt, Manassas Park's superintendent. The school system for the first time used staggered start dates; kindergartners began classes yesterday.
The scheduling change gave administrators time to make last-minute registrations and place students in classrooms, DeBolt said.
Manassas had to cope with a major renovation project at Jennie Dean Elementary, but the school opened as scheduled. Superintendent Sidney "Chip" Zullinger said the school was "in great shape."
Staff Writer Michele Clock contributed to this article.