Most children in Newtown returned to classes yesterday for the first time since last week's shooting, but survivors stayed at home and Sandy Hook school remained a crime scene.
In a thin drizzle, yellow school buses once again rolled through the Connecticut town, where 5,400 children are enrolled.
But it was only a small step back towards normality in a town that had been known for a low crime rate and a tight sense of community until last Friday.
Classes began with up to two hours' delay and extra security was posted outside buildings, with a squad car at Newtown Middle School and lines of yellow police tape keeping away journalists at Saint Rose Elementary.
At Hawley school, a couple accompanying their young son held hands and hugged the policeman at the entrance.
Sandy Hook pupils are expected to return to classes later this week in a spare school near Newtown.
Detectives and forensic scientists continued investigations in an attempt to piece together what happened when Adam Lanza opened fire with a rifle.
In a sign of the sadness in the town, the front grilles of all school buses were decorated with bows in green and white, the colours of Sandy Hook.
Two girls and a six-year-old boy killed at the school were being buried yesterday. On Monday, two boys - Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, both six - were laid to rest and funerals for staff and pupils will continue all week.
Meanwhile, police remained tight-lipped about what they had found that might explain why Lanza, who had no history of violence, snapped.
Searches have concentrated on the school, but also the house were Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy lived - and where he shot her at the start of his rampage.
Among the items being examined are the rifle and pistols that Lanza carried and which were owned by his mother.
There have also been reports that the hard drive to his computer is being studied.
Bit by bit, a picture is emerging of a boy who no one knew well and a mother who did everything to care for him. But it was she who, fatally, introduced him to her passion for target shooting at ranges. Former schoolmate Alan Diaz said Lanza was "a very intelligent person" who had the "stereotypical nerd look".
Unlike his backpack-toting classmates, he always carried a computer bag.
"We all kind of knew that, like, he had problems socially and we kind of had a feeling that he might have had something wrong with him," Diaz said.
He recalled playing violent computer games with Lanza, but was surprised to hear his friend went shooting with his mother.
"I never imagined Adam wanting to hold a gun," he said. "I don't imagine shy, quiet people going to a shooting range."
Reflecting the bemusement over Lanza's meltdown, Diaz said: "At one point he was a good kid. The events he did that day may have been evil, but before then he was just another kid."