Communities are still reeling after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Even those not personally affected by the tragedy deeply feel the loss of the children, principal and teachers who were killed Friday.

Schools in Harford County are doing what they can to not only protect the physical safety of their students, but also the emotional well-being.

"You just feel so helpless," John Carroll School Principal Madelyn Ball said Monday. "What happened there can happen absolutely anywhere."

The principal was in school when she got word of the tragedy and said she was "just so shocked."

Counseling is being offered to students who want to talk about the tragedy and their feelings about it.

John Carroll students are in the middle of exam week before the winter break, the principal noted.

"Exams have kind of really been the focus of our kids right now," Ball said. "They haven't had a chance to do too much else this weekend other than to study."

Counselors at the school haven't reported "an awful lot of kids" coming in to talk, she said, but the school is "very well prepared for that."

Ball said the school held a prayer service at 11:45 a.m. Monday after exams.

"We're gathering as many people as possible to pray for the families in Newtown and, of course, pray for all of those who perished," she said. "Candles will also be lit for those who died."

The school immediately had a school-wide prayer Friday after news spread of what had happened.

Ball said the prayer will "reflect in our own words and actions the changes we wish to see in the world."

Harford Day School in Bel Air is also focused on how its students are emotionally coping after the event.

"We're equally concerned about the [students'] emotional well being after this," Susan Harris, head of Harford Day School, said, adding that it has had a "profound effect on the community."

Harford Day doesn't have a guidance counselor, Harris said, so the administration draws on national organizations, such as the National Association of School Psychologists, to give information and examples on how to deal with this type of event.

Harris contacted parents over the weekend addressing the tragedy and included an article that gave tips on what's appropriate to share with their children based on age.

"We're not discussing this incident in school below the fourth grade," she explained. "We're aware that many parents have shielded their children from this information and we're going to honor that."

Teachers of students in fourth grade and older can answer questions.

"If those students want or need to talk about this, teachers are prepared to talk to fourth grade and up," Harris said. "But we're not going to bring it up directly."