Lt. Sinko said he “would find it very difficult” for students to return to the school. But, he added, “we want to keep these kids together. They need to support each other,” he said.
Plans were being made for some students to attend classes in nearby Monroe, said Jim Agostine, superintendent of schools there.
Residents and faith leaders reflected Sunday on the mass shooting and what meaning, if any, to find in it. Mr. Obama planned to attend an interfaith vigil — the fourth time he will have traveled to a city after a mass shooting.
At St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Jennifer Waters, who at 6 is the same age as many of the victims and attends a different school, came to Mass on Sunday in Newtown with a lot of questions.
“The little children — are they with the angels?” she asked her mother while fiddling with a small plastic figurine on a pew near the back of the church. “Are they going to live with the angels?”
Her mother, Joan Waters, 45, assured her they were, then put a finger to her daughter’s lips, urging her to be quiet.
An overflow crowd of more than 800 people attended the 9 a.m. Mass at the church, where eight children will be buried later this week. The gunman and his mother also attended church here. Spokesman Brian Wallace said the Diocese of Bridgeport has yet to be asked to provide funerals for either.
Boxes of tissues were placed strategically in each pew and on each window sill. The altar was adorned with bouquets, one shaped as a broken heart, with a zigzag of red carnations cutting through the white ones.
In his homily, the Rev. Jerald Doyle, the diocesan administrator, tried to answer the question of how parishioners could find joy in the holiday season with so much sorrow surrounding them.
“You won’t remember what I say, and it will become unimportant,” he said. “But you will really hear deep down that word that will finally and ultimately bring peace and joy. That is the word by which we live. That is the word by which we hope. That is the word by which we love.”
After the Mass, Ms. Waters and Jennifer stopped by a makeshift memorial outside the church, which was filled with votive candles and had a pile of bouquets and stuffed animals underneath, to pray the Lord’s Prayer.
Jennifer asked whether she could take one.
“No, those are for the little children,” her mother replied.
“Who died?” her daughter asked.
“Yes,” said her mother, wiping away a tear.