NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thousands of students in Davidson County headed back to school Wednesday.
Students at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools reported for a half day. They will be off again Thursday for Election Day, and back to school Friday for the first full day.
Officials said they expect approximately 85,000 students to attend the school system this year. That’s up 2,000 over last year.
Teachers and staff have been preparing for the school year throughout the summer.
For the first time, all students will be able to receive free breakfast and lunch at schools. The funding comes from the federal level as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch campaign.
Last year, 72 percent of Metro students qualified for free or reduced lunch. For those who paid this change could save at least $400 per year.
Before getting on the bus, parents are urged to make sure students have their necessary immunizations, especially 7th graders.
Last year roughly half showed up without the proper shots. After five days, they will be sent home with an unexcused absence.
Additionally, high school students will soon be able to ride Metropolitan Transit Authority buses to and from school for free. That will go into effect once students get their IDs in late August or early September.
For more information, go to http://mnpschildrenfirst.com/2014/07/09/back-to-school-central-2014/.
Approximately 7,500 students at seven elementary schools in at-risk areas will also get backpacks full of school supplies on the first day, thanks to the United Way's "Stuff the Bus" campaign. Last month, more than 400 volunteers stuffed those backpacks at Greer Stadium.
The remaining supplies will be distributed to community service agencies in the Nashville area.
Other school districts headed back to school Wednesday include Cannon, Cumberland, Franklin, Marshall, Montgomery, and Rutherford Counties. Murfreesboro City Schools and the Franklin Special School District also start classes.
In southern Kentucky, Allen, Calloway, Cumberland, Green, Hart, Muhlenberg, Ohio and Trigg Counties start back Wednesday.
Students have already been in school for a few days in some school districts, such as Sumner and Putnam Counties.