KITCHENER -- More students across southwestern Ontario returned to classrooms on Monday, including in Waterloo Region, where schools reopened for the first time since the Christmas break.

It was a busy morning at Elizabeth Ziegler Public School as students returned to class after five weeks of distance learning.

All students in Ontario began 2021 with online learning as part of the latest provincial shutdown.

On Monday, most regions reopened schools with the exception of some Toronto-area school boards.

Waterloo Region school boards said the first day back went smoothly.

"Things went really well," said Bill Lemon, superintendent of the Waterloo Region District School Board. "Students seemed to step right back into the health and safety routines and the protocols we had in place."

"Everyone was just excited and happy to be back in-person and in our brick and mortar schools," said Loretta Notten, director of education at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said there are additional safety measures in place, including stricter screening and targeted asymptomatic testing if needed.

"What's different now is that we require confirmation of that screening for all of our staff and for our secondary students," Notten said.

But some parents and teachers have expressed concerns over how the measures will be enforced.

Some school boards, like those in London, reopened their doors to students last week.