School Board gathers opinions on new start times

The survey posted on allows community members to vote on new school start times which will be implemented starting with the 2020-2021 school year

Virginia Beach City Public Schools opened a survey to the public with four choices of new schedule times which would be implemented in September of 2020. The decision to change the school start times was approved in December 2018 based on medical research.

According to The Journal of School Health, later start times correspond to improved attendance, less tardiness, less falling asleep in class, better grades, and fewer motor vehicle crashes.

Over 7,000 people have taken the survey posted on Out of the four options, the average option priority rankings of all responses are Option D, C, A, and B.

Option D has high school starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 2:50 pm. In Option C, high school runs from 9:20 to 4:10. In Option A, high school starts at 9:25 and ends at 4:15. Option B has high school from 9:40 to 4:20.

According to the survey, some challenges of pushing back the start times include the extensive costs to add field lights to school and transportation issues such as the need to hire more bus drivers.

“The time change is needed, but there’s an easier way to accomplish it,” said sophomore Natalie Hampton.

The survey has been promoted throughout schools by teachers and parents. They urge students to voice their opinions before the survey closes on May 15.

“If high school gets out later, it would be difficult for after-school activities and homework,” said Natalie.

The survey and three community meetings in May will contribute to the time discussion before the final recommendation is made during the Summer School Board retreat in July.

“They haven’t made a final decision yet. Students, parents, and teachers have the opportunity to vote on it right now,” said Assistant Principal Leah Nelson.

A petition was created on to keep the current school times. The petition has 288 signatures out of 500 so far. Speculation alludes to the fact that the times have already been set, but the decision is not certain, so students are still trying to put a stop to the change with the petition.

As shown in the petition, students believe that the goal the School Board had was for adolescents to get more sleep, but it will cause more problems such as interference with jobs and activities and will make it difficult to keep a healthy balance of responsibilities.

“I personally have a job and have to be at work by four. Changing times would not only make it more difficult for myself but for everybody who works,” said sophomore Jackson Ploeger. “As a community, we cannot sacrifice these [jobs] by changing school times and affecting dismissal times.”