Classes begin in 5 Central Fla. counties


Hundreds of thousands of students are heading back to school as classes begin in five Central Florida counties.

In Orange County, Superintendent Barbara Jenkins and Sheriff Jerry Demings visited Colonial High School to deliver a message about student safety.

"You'll see (deputies) at and around the school zones to ensure that our driving public slows down," said Demings.

Colonial High School is one of nine schools in Orange County going all digital. Students in those schools have been issued a laptop, which is used for studying, homework and testing.

"Instead of carrying a book bag filled with textbooks, notebooks and paper and pencil, they will be carrying a laptop," said Jenkins.

Some parents see the change as a valuable learning tool as students work toward graduation.

"In the times that these kids are growing up into, it's very technological," said Jessica Ceballos. "And I guess that's where we're moving forward in the future."
Orange County begins the school year with two new elementary schools.

Independence Elementary in Winter Garden and Eagle Creek Elementary in Lake Nona opened their doors to students on Monday for the first time.

"I think that gives a good indication that Central Florida continues to grow," said Jenkins "5,000 to 7,000 additional students coming to this area on an annual basis."
The new school year also means that hundreds of school buses are back on the roads.

"Traffic will slow down a little bit. We just ask everyone to be a little patient," said OCPS Transportation Director Bill Wen. "The buses are on their way and we're doing the best we can with the traffic that we have."

With nearly 200,000 students in Orange County, transportation officials have been working to make sure anticipated issues are under control.

"Sometimes students who may not be eligible are at the bus stops. So, we'll anticipate some overcrowding, but we won't be overloaded," said Wen.

Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Flagler County also began classes on Monday. Classes in all nine Central Florida counties are now back in session.

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