Some students in York Region are returning to the classroom for the first time in nearly six months as GTA school boards continue a staggered start to the school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elementary students in grades 1 to 3 at the York Catholic District School Board will return to class today while students in the other grades will have to wait until next week.

For students in Grade 9, in-person instruction begins today for one of three cohorts and students in the other two cohorts will attend virtually.

At the York Region District School Board, senior kindergarten students will attend school today along with some students in grades 1 to 8.

Grade 9 students in one cohort will attend in person this morning and participate in virtual instruction in the afternoon.

A staff member at Yorkhill Elementary School in Thornhill told CP24 Thursday that employees have spent the past week getting the school ready for today's return.

"The parents are really happy to be back. The kids are really excited. I know the teachers are. It's the first day of school and everyone has been really looking forward to it," she said. 

"I think the parents need to know that during the day these are our children and we are going to do whatever we need to do to keep them safe."

School boards in the regions of Peel, Durham, and Halton are also continuing their staggered start today after sending some students back earlier this week.

Students in Toronto will not return to the classroom until next week.

On Wednesday, the Toronto District School Board announced that it would be pushing back the start date for all high school students.

Secondary students at TDSB schools were initially supposed to start on Sept. 15 but the school board now says they will begin two days later than expected, attributing the change to challenges with staffing and timetables.

TDSB elementary school students in select grades will return to class starting on Tuesday as planned.