“I think it’s going to go well,” says 8-year-old Sophia Riella on her first day of school. However, all she had to do was log on to her computer to start class.

It is Sophia’s second year as a virtual student at an online academy. Her parents decided this method over a traditional school because of her severe allergies and autoimmune deficiency.

“When we did have her in a brick and mortar school, she would be sick all the time. She picks up things instantly and that puts her in the hospital,” says Lena Riella, Sophia’s mom.

Sophia was in and out of the hospital for seven months last year, but she was able to keep up with her studies, thanks to the flexibility of the virtual school.

“As a parent, I want to make sure that she gets the best education that she can have. And this is her affording her that,” says Lena Riella, who says the online school gives her child more personalized attention. “She has individual counseling when she wants it and guidance through her teacher she can call 24-7, which is nice.”

Since courses are more individualized, the curriculum can be as challenging as each student needs.

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