BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joined school leaders at Mattahunt Elementary School in Mattapan to kick off the start of a new school year as thousands of Boston Public School students headed back to class amid the Orange Line shutdown.

“We are so happy to see you bright and early this morning,” Wu said, greeting the large crowd of students. “Thank you for all your beautiful smiles. Thank you for all of your hard work for making it here today.”

Students at Mattahunt Elementary received a grand entrance welcoming them back to school with a red carpet and balloons to get them excited for the school year ahead.

Officials said there has been a lot of anticipation leading up to this day because of transportation as the Orange Line remains shut down until September 19, impacting thousands of BPS families.

“The first day of school is one of the best days of the whole year,” Wu said earlier in the day at a Hyde Park bus yard. “We have hundreds of buses ready to go, drivers who have been preparing and getting ready so we can get our young people to school and have a great day and start to the school year. Obviously, there has been a little wrinkle this year with the Orange Line situation and this team has been hard at work making preparations, doing extra checks.”

“Whether [students] they’re tardy, late because of the T or whatever, we’re gonna welcome love them and bring them in,” said Mattahunt Elementary Principal Walter Henderson. “We know there’s gonna be a challenge with transportation, we know that going in so we’re not gonna be hard-lining, we’re gonna be loving.”

Wu said the school district has been working closely with the MBTA.

“Because of the Orange Line we are stepping in to fill some of the gaps so some of our yellow buses are actually being deployed as shuttle buses for the first time just for students who are being impacted by the Orange Line shutdown as well,” Wu said after taking a bus from Hyde Park to Forest Hills. “It’s a long day for many of our people but it is worth it and we are so excited to welcome them back.”

Students are also encouraged to take the Commuter Rail.

All students in grades 7-12 are eligible for a free M7 MBTA pass through Boston Public Schools. The T is also free for all students on Thursday, September 8, and M7 passes will be available for pickup.

Henderson said they’re all excited to teach again even with all the anticipated delays.

“We just want them to have a high-powered education so they have options in life,” Henderson said.

There was an accident between two school buses that caused serious damage before buses left the yard earlier in the day and Boston EMS treated one person for minor injuries.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox