"I was never so excited to see my children and, certainly, to see my children get off the bus. There was a shared joy," he said.
About 80 parents attended an assembly Thursday with school and police officials, who fielded questions about security and activities planned for their children. White said security will remain at a high level for now and will be re-evaluated each week.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to the school. He shot his way into the building and carried out the massacre before committing suicide as police arrived.
On Thursday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the creation of an advisory commission that will review and recommend changes to state laws and policies on gun control, school safety measures and mental health services in the wake of the Sandy Hook rampage.
Teams of workers, many of them volunteers, prepared the new school and even raised bathroom floors so the smaller elementary school students can reach the toilets. The students' backpacks and other belongings that were left behind after the shooting were taken to the new school to make them feel at home.
Students found the same chairs and desks, when possible. Their classroom walls were painted the same colors and hung with the same pictures. Other details, such as the location of bookshelves and cubbyholes, were replicated as much as possible.
Newtown school Superintendent Janet Robinson said the school has been transformed into a "cheerful" place for the students. She said mental health counselors continue to be available for anyone who needs them.
Caron, 32, said her son knows what happened and has undergone counseling. She said her 5-year-old daughter, Paige, attends afternoon kindergarten at the school and has been dealing with nightmares about "snakes and bears and coyotes."
"She wasn't at school that day but was with me when we went to look for William at the firehouse," Caron said. "Unfortunately, she heard more about it than I wish she did."
Intellectually, Caron said, she knows her children will be very safe at their new school.
"But, emotionally," she said. "It's very hard to turn off the little 'What if?' that kind of hangs on and says, `Well, you know what, December 14th started out as a normal day, too."