Many Aransas County residents have been waiting for Oct. 11 to come since Hurricane Harvey hit -- the first day of school for their district.

All Aransas County Independent School District classes were back open Wednesday, weeks after it was announced that the schools would have to be closed indefinitely due to damage from the hurricane.

Students poured into the schools as early as 7 a.m. and were greeted by a cheering staff and even strangers anxious to welcome them back home.

"To come out just as a community, not any one group, and support," said Cindy Duck, an Aransas County ISD parents who was excited to greet the students. "Good morning, Pirates!"

Many staff and students are still homeless because of Harvey.

"They're coming to school," Duck said. "They're living with friends. They're living in tents. This is real."

The return to school is a sign of normalcy for a community that has already been through so much.

"I see the beauty in the people. I see the beauty that they are coming together, neighbor helping neighbor, and that is our community," parent Nichole Soto said.

For many of the students, it was their first time seeing classmates and teachers since they were scattered among neighboring districts.

"It's going to be 100 times better than a normal year, just because they are together," parent Diane Tucker said.

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