CLEVELAND (WJW) – Monday morning, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District welcomed back more than 35,000 students.

While a few schools in Cleveland had already gone back, the bulk of students in the district returned on Monday and they were greeted with some changes.

Those changes include the district’s mask policy, which now states that face coverings are no longer required but still recommended.

Over the summer, CMSD also spent more than $1 million on safety upgrades. These upgrades included repairing cameras in school buildings, with more to be spent on improving locks and announcement systems.

CEO Eric Gordon said the district will also now have a full-time school safety officer in nearly every school.

This comes in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting in Texas that claimed the life of 19 children and two adults.

In addition to safety upgrades, the district spent the summer investing in technology.

“Our department of information technology has added wifi on plenty of our yellow buses keeping students connected from home to school and back,” said CEO Eric Gordon. “The department also is installing interactive clever touch screens in schools, part of a two-year $11 million initiative to make the screens available in every classroom of every school.”

As of two weeks ago, Cleveland was still hiring teachers and needed roughly 150 more for the start of the school year.

In a message to students and parents, Gordon assured them that the focus is on the kids to ensure they are engaged and encouraged to succeed.

“Expect to see a more visible public campaign to improve attendance which suffered when schools returned to in-person learning last year,” said Gordon in a video released by the district. “We understand that anxiety ran high, but education is a cornerstone of our children’s future. They have to be present to take advantage of all we have to offer.”