NEWTOWN, Conn. - Monday morning.
For most children and families, it means waking up and following a routine: Rushing around to eat and get dressed before heading to school or work.
For the students, staff and others at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, that routine has been broken.
Friday's shooting, which took the lives of 20 children and six adults on school property, has prompted officials to close the school indefinitely, turning halls once full of joyful passing and classrooms once full of fun and learning into a crime scene riddled with bullet holes and the most painful of memories.
"This morning all of us in Newtown woke up to, at the end, this worst nightmare," Newtown Superintendent Janet Robinson said Saturday.
On Sunday, Robinson and Jim Agostine, the superintendent in neighboring Monroe, announced that a negotiation is in process to prepare the former Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe to house the students and staff displaced by the shooting at Sandy Hook. School is expected to resume for Sandy Hook students Wednesday at Chalk Hill, located about seven miles south of Sandy Hook.
All schools in Newtown will be closed today, giving residents more time to cope. Every school except for Sandy Hook is expected to re-open Tuesday.
The Newtown school district, along with many other districts in the region, is planning to make support staff and trained counselors available to students and staff who may need to discuss the tragedy.
Schools in Newtown will be closed Christmas Eve through New Year's Day for winter break.
Agostine and the Monroe schools administrative team said in a statement posted on the district's website that it was important that Sandy Hook students "get back to school quickly in an environment that is familiar and safe."
Agostine said a police officer will be assigned to patrol each of the Monroe schools, ranging from the ECIC Preschool to Masuk High School.
The Monroe superintendent said a task force for the district was charged this fall with reviewing emergency procedures for the schools. That review was finished last week and shared with building principals. An audit of the district's security systems was also simultaneously completed.
Similarly, Sandy Hook Elementary School also introduced a new security system and set of emergency procedures this year. The protocol calls for visitors to be buzzed and signed in and for doors to be locked after 9:30 a.m. A photo ID may be requested when visitors are entering.
The Newtown Board of Education and district administration have not announced plans for what will become of the Sandy Hook Elementary building.
Newtown officials face a complicated road ahead similar to those faced by past administrators who have dealt with school shootings.
A similar process weighed on officials at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., where heavily armed student gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher on April 20, 1999.
Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis told the Denver Post he saw parallels between the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the one he experienced at Columbine.
"It is never going to get back to normal," he said.
Life and school operations at Columbine did continue, as is expected for Sandy Hook, but not before Newtown officials and Sandy Hook families face some heavy decisions, like the one of sending students back to class.
Columbine students returned to classes at nearby Chatfield High School nine days after the shooting, using a half-day schedule. DeAngelis told reporters that the decision was made at students' requests to get back to school and routine sense of living.
Columbine students weren't, however, permitted to retrieve their belongings from the high school until six weeks later.
Like at Columbine, there will be heavy analysis of Newtown school safety procedures and emergency protocol and what more could have be done to make schools safer, or at least feel more secure.
The Newtown superintendent and board will also face the solemn task of finding a new principal to replace Dawn Hochsprung, who was shot and killed while trying to overtake the gunman. Columbine Principal DeAngelis was also shot, and carries the lifelong scars.
Then comes the decision of what to do with the Sandy Hook building.
Ultimately, Columbine's officials decided to renovate and reopen the school, with a great deal of community support and donations.
All of this will be done with a great deal of public and media speculation, which Newtown will likely have to bear for a long time.
"I don't even think they know what they need right now," DeAngelis told the Denver Post. "What they need to remember is how much support is out there."
Lt. Brian McCauley, a spokesperson for the Monroe Police Department, said officials from the Newtown and Monroe police and school departments and town administrations are all working together to ensure a smooth transition.
"This is such a nationwide tragedy that everyone is watching," McCauley said. "We want to make sure families are as undisturbed as possible."
Chalk Hill is a former middle school building that closed in 2011.
McCauley said area contractors, town employees and community volunteers have "rallied to come get the school together" and vowed to work "as long as it takes to get the job done."
The preparation includes checking fire alarm systems, installing door security, cleaning up classrooms, checking plumbing, and more.
"We've got every type of work vehicle down there, from plumbing to electric," he said, and even people with "two hands and a strong back."
Darrell Trump, chairman of the Monroe Board of Education, said he's heard of workers looking to find "kindergarten-type furniture" to outfit the classrooms with.
Trump said he and his colleagues are pleased that the town of Monroe can come to offer the vacant school to Newtown. He said town officials are planning to meet Monday night to formally vote on the proposed adaptive use.
Both towns are contracted with the same bus company, All-Star Transportation, which will also help the transition. He said it will be an approximately 15-minute bus trip for students.
McCauley, a 25-year-veteran of the Monroe police department, said the towns really haven't experienced a situation like this since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said as with that time, people in the community are coming together again to support their neighbors.
"We're a small community," he said. "For New Englanders, as cold as we're supposed to be, people really warm up to help each other," he said.