East County students look forward to being back in the classroom despite pandemic.
Sophie Lowrance, a third grader at Gilbert W. McNeal Elementary School in Lakewood Ranch, was eager to get back into the classroom for the first day of school Aug. 17.
"I haven't seen my friends in a while, and I'm excited to meet my teacher," Lowrance said.
Thousands of students in East County looked forward to being back in school whether it was in person or online.
Families had the option to have their students return to school fully, participate in a hybrid schedule or do e-learning full time. A hybrid schedule has students in person at school two days per week and at home with e-learning three days per week.
In the School District of Manatee County, 48% of students are returning to school five days per week while 29% are at home with e-learning and 23% of students are participating in a hybrid schedule.