With school starting back up on Thursday, it's always interesting to see if schools will have more or fewer students. 

According to Greg Luterbach, Superintendent of Schools with Rockyview School Division, they will see a rise this year. 

“Last January, we projected we'd have about 27,500 students, and now looks like we're at about 27,600 students. So, we're kind of right where we thought we'd be. That's an increase of about 1000 students from last year.” 

With this being the first full year without any COVID restrictions, Luterbach mentioned he would say there is a sense of hope. 

“I think people really appreciate the last spring when schools returned to much more normal activities. People got to enjoy some of those experiences at school and I think they're really looking forward to starting the school year with whatever that sense of normalcy is.” 

For those that are feeling a little anxious about returning to school for whatever reason, COVID or otherwise, Luterbach encouraged parents and students to talk to their teachers. 

“If students and families want the child to wear masks, that is certainly their call, and we'll support that decision. I think there are lots of things that individuals can take responsibility for themselves and we're certainly there to help and support them. I think any time when we get to this stage, often, some students experience anxiety, some families experience anxiety, and I think it's healthy to talk about it.” 

Luterbach finished off by saying some of the distractions that they faced over the last two-plus years are minimized.  

“We're really going to be able to be laser-focused around learning for our students, and all the ways that we can support them to be successful in that learning.”