Newtown, Connecticut - Children from the Connecticut elementary school where a deranged gunman killed 20 children and six staff last week will return to classes in an alternate facility only in the new year, officials said Wednesday.

“We can confirm that the expected day for Chalk Hill to open will be January 2,” said Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut education department.

The Sandy Hook school house in Newtown, where the shootings took place last Friday, remains a crime scene as investigators piece together the events of the bloodbath, which ended when 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza committed suicide.

Children will instead restart classes in a converted Chalk Hill Middle School in nearby Monroe. Local news reports said the building, which had been out of use, is being painted and decorated to resemble as exactly as possible the original Sandy Hook school.

All other schools in the Newtown district reopened on Tuesday amid tighter security. Funerals for the more than two dozen victims of the second biggest campus shooting in American history were continuing all week.

This Friday, Connecticut residents are being asked by Governor Dannel Malloy to observe a minute's silence at 09:30 am, the time that Lanza, a local resident, shot his way into the school and began his massacre.

Police have released no indication of a possible motive, and Lanza, who was bright but highly withdrawn, is widely assumed to have become unhinged before first shooting his mother at their home, then driving to the school. - Sapa-AFP