CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — In six weeks students will be heading back to class, but in Chesterfield school start times will be different this year. The new scheduled was approved by the school board back in February.
The new schedule will be:
- 7:35 a.m.-2:05 p.m.: Middle schools (with the exception of Tomahawk Creek because of extremely long bus rides)
- 7:45 a.m.-2:15 p.m.: Bensley, Bon Air, Crenshaw, Clover Hill, Jacobs Road and Wells elementary schools
- 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: All high schools, Tomahawk Creek Middle, and Alberta Smith, Chalkley, Grange Hall, Matoaca and Salem Church elementary schools
- 9:25 a.m.-3:55 p.m.: All remaining elementary schools
The new schedule aligns high school starting times with research-based recommendations that say high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later due to pubertal-related changes to teens’ circadian rhythms. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Centers for Disease Control each suggest high school starting times should be later than the current 7:25 a.m. schedule in Chesterfield County.
School Board members indicated a desire for school division staff members to continue to tweak operating times when possible, based on future test runs of bus routes. Board members also expressed an interest in looking at moving to a two-tier system in future years.
The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget includes $500,000 to address bus driver salaries, as the school division ramps up recruitment efforts. The final annual implementation cost is projected to be $1.9 million, a total that will cover expenses related to 30 new bus drivers, fuel and bus maintenance.