Nine-year-old Caleb Cowan was looking wistfully through the gates of Tollbrae Primary School in Airdrie.
A few minutes earlier, he had watched his younger brother walk through the gates alone, but Caleb has to wait until Thursday to meet his friends, some of whom he hasn’t seen for almost five months.
Scotland’s schools are bringing back different year groups each day this week – ready for full-time schooling for everyone next Monday.
“I’ve been enjoying playing Nintendo Wii Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games,” Caleb says when asked for the best thing about almost five months of school.
He knows he will have to keep socially distanced from teachers and staff in school, but not from his classmates.
“If I run into my best friend I’ll give him the biggest hug ever,” he said.
To limit the chance of spreading coronavirus, parents are not allowed in the playground to settle their children into what promises to be a strange environment.
Pupils at Tollbrae will be assigned one of four colours that will determine where they sit for meals and who they interact with.
Sharon Hynes, dropping off five-year-old daughter Lilly, is apprehensive.
“They’ve been a lot safer in the home than stuck in a school where you don’t know what’s going on,” she said.
“You still don’t know if they’ll be safe but they need to get back to normality.”
Teachers were on hand to encourage youngsters to make the long walk from the gates to the school doors, where each was asked to stand on their colour painted in circles on the tarmac.
Children were excitedly calling out the names of friends as they arrived to join the socially distanced queue before they were taken in their groups to their classroom.
Baqar Raza said he had impressed upon his seven-year-old daughter Faryal that keeping safe was key, but he is glad the school is reopening.
“As well as their health being important, their schooling’s important along with it,” he said.
(c) Sky News 2020