NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Students were back in class at two schools in Queens on Tuesday, four weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed the region.

P.S./M.S. 114 and P.S. Q256 opened their doors, the Department of Education said. It was the first time students were allowed back into their schools since the storm hit.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: The Principal Arrived Early And Excited At P.S./M.S. 114

“It was kind of a little scary because we didn’t know like what was going to happen,” said P.S./M.S. 114 fourth grader Nicholas Lamendola.

But when school started the rooms were buzzing again with chatter. Flood-damaged floors had been replaced and donated supplies lined the hallways.

By the end of the day, attendance at P.S. 114 climbed to 55 percent, which was better than expected, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.

“Hurricane Sandy was really scary. We saw fire, we saw water and to come back means that maybe things are going to be normal again,” said Randa Elsayed, a fifth grader at P.S./M.S. 114.

Helen Renda said she got emotional when she dropped her children off at school.

“We’re very excited for the kids to get back to some normalcy and to the school. It’s been very hard and hopefully it will just get better,” she told CBS 2’s Jiang.

“I’m choked up. We’re just happy, it feels like we’re home again,” parent Rachel Edwards added.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the need for getting kids back in the classroom.

“Every day, we are working to help more people get their lives back to normal and opening schools will be an important process for both parents and students,” he said earlier this month.

But the principal at P.S./M.S. 114. said they still have a long way to go. Only a quarter of the school’s students showed up for class in the morning because so many families are still displaced and without a car because of the storm.

“The last bus had no children on it. The bus driver knows them and their parents for years and he said they weren’t there,” said school bus coordinator Susan Rossi. “Went to each stop, no kids. None of the houses are there. Nothing’s there.”

While most of the school is open, some parts of the building, like the auditorium where water rose to the windows, will remain off-limits until further repairs are completed.

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