WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Worcester students are returning to school with some new safety changes as over a dozen districts across Massachusetts head back to school Monday.

Some of the youngest students were excited to head back to the classroom, make new friends and learn “everything,” one little girl said.

Students in Worcester are now able to carry any backpack they want after the school committee voted last week to get rid of a rule that only allowed students to carry mesh or transparent backpacks with them. If the backpack was not see-through, they had to leave it in their locker.

People at the meeting argued that the rule doesn’t add safety.

“If someone, unfortunately, wanted to bring a dangerous item into the building, they could easily cover it with the belongings in their bag,” said student representative Stacia Zoghbi.

“This policy to me is very representative of a particular way of looking at our students as being safety hazards all the time, and are effectively having a policy thats founded on a fundamental mistrust of our students, which I’m bothered by already,” said Worcester School Committee Tracy O’Connell Novick.

Families will also be able to use a GPS bus-tracking app to get a better idea of when their students’ buses will arrive at the bus stop this year. They also said they are planning further ahead to avoid issues.

The district hopes the app, launched by Worcester students, will help students plan and prevent missed pickups.

This comes after Worcester was one of the communities that struggled with a bus driver shortage last year, which required the help of the National Guard. Still, the district asked families to be patient as new drivers and riders acclimate to their routes.

Face coverings are also now optional for students this year. While some students arrived to school with masks on, others didn’t.

While one parent said he was comfortable ditching his kids’ masks because the family is vaccinated, another said her kids weren’t ready to remove their masks.

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