Published: Aug 09, 2013 4:53 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 09, 2013 6:47 PM EDT

FT. MYERS, Fla. - Lee County Virtual Instruction program says they have seen double the number of full-time students versus 2012.

The program has had such a huge enrollment increase, officials had to spread their first day of school over 2 days (Thursday & Friday).

School officials say as of Friday they have 350 full-time students enrolled, compared to 175 the previous year.

2013 also marks the first time the program has accepted students from Collier and Charlotte counties.

Florida's state virtual school has been forced into layoffs as experts say the landscape shifts toward local virtual education.

The Lee County program has thrived, adding new students as well as 7 new teachers to help meet demand.

In June, Lee VIP was issued a Bronze ranking in US News & World Report’s ranking of America’s Best High Schools.