By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a challenging school year unlike any other, Philadelphia students are officially on summer vacation. That vacation follows a year dominated by COVID-19, and there are hopes things will be much different this fall.

Many students in the Philadelphia School District have really only seen the inside of a classroom for the last month. So many students, parents and teachers are looking forward to a return to normalcy in the fall.

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It’s the last day of school for students in the Philadelphia School District. Many just returned to hybrid in-person learning in March after being in an all-virtual setting since the start of the pandemic.

Eyewitness News sat down with Amanda Jones, principal at Luis Munoz Martin Elementary School in Fairhill to reflect on a most trying year.

“It makes me really ecstatic to know that we made it to the end of the year,” Jones said, “and that our students and families are really grateful for all of the work that we’ve done here at Munoz Martin to make sure that they are safe.”

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While classrooms are being cleaned out for the end of the school year, there are constant reminders of safety protocols that have been in place.

“Making sure they had their partitions in place, that they were practicing social distance and wearing their masks at all time,” Jones said.

Six-year-old Alyaniz Rodriguez is heading into second grade, and her parents are looking forward to a post-pandemic year of learning.

“Hopefully they can come back to school. She missed it, she missed it. She wants to come back, she wants to play with her friends and teachers,” Jose Rodriguez, Alyaniz’s father, said.

Munoz Martin Elementary School is preparing to welcome back about 615 students in the fall, hoping for a sense of normalcy to a new year unlike the start of this one.

Lessons learned this year?

“Relationships matter and education is not just an instructional setting, what you learn in a textbook and what’s in front of you,” Jones said. “It’s really the relationships that you build with your school community, and I think that really speaks in a virtual setting that we need to come together.”

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The Philadelphia School District is looking forward to welcoming back its 126,000 students to in-person learning, five days a week beginning on Aug. 30.