Houck Middle School teacher Madison Jones leads a tour of the building on the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 3,600 sixth and ninth-graders had another first day of school Tuesday as Salem-Keizer middle and high schools welcomed back their youngest students.

Activities included school tours and extra help with schedules for hundreds of students who had never before set foot in the schools they've technically been attending since September. The district staggered the return to allow sixth and ninth graders a day to adjust before being joined by their older classmates.

The McKay High School marching band played "Crazy in Love" and other hits as administrators greeted freshmen walking in the front door.

Schools are still operating on a hybrid schedule where students attend in-person classes two days per week and otherwise work on homework and online assignments. Tuesday's welcome will repeat Wednesday as the other half of sixth and ninth-grade students return. On Thursday and Friday, older classmates will join them.

-Rachel Alexander

(Video by Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Kaeden Hobson, Ashtyn Carrier, and Brandon Lord reunited at Houck Middle School for the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Alondra Gonzalez Gomez performs with the marching band to welcome freshmen to their first day of in-person school at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Josue Castaneda, Margarita Arroyo, and Nevaeh Okell tour through the greenhouse as part of their 'Introduction to Agriculture' class at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Houck Middle School teacher Madison Jones leads a tour of the building on the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The marching band performed outside to welcome freshmen to their first day of in-person school at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Cony Garibay, 15, attends her first day of in-person school at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Teacher Mackenzie Layne addresses students at Houck Middle School on the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Joshua Ruiz and McKenna Morales perform with the marching band to welcome freshmen to their first day of in-person school at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Students line up to receive their class schedules at Houck Middle School on the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Students tour Houck Middle School on the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A face mask is rubberbanded over the end of a clarinet during a performance by the marching band to welcome freshmen to their first day of in-person school on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Mona Gideon, instructional assistant at Houck Middle School, passes out class schedules on the first day of in-person sixth grade on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Freshmen head to classes on their first day of in-person school at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Teacher Scott Avzaradel leads the marching band to welcome freshmen to their first day of in-person school at McKay High School on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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