The first bell at Prince William County Schools could be ringing a lot later for high schoolers in fall of 2022, as the division will spend next year considering a plan that would move start times for the division’s oldest students back to 8:30 a.m. or later.
At his final school board meeting as schools superintendent, Steve Walts floated three different models. The first would invert pre-pandemic schedules and start elementary schools first and high schools last. Middle schools would begin at the same time.
With the second model, all three levels would be delayed until at least 8:30 a.m. but would start in the same order. Finally, the third model would start middle and high schools at the same time no earlier than 8:30 but would keep elementary schools the same.
Currently, county high schools start between 7:25 and 7:30 a.m., middle schools between 8:10 and 8:20 a.m. and elementary schools between 8:10 and 9:20 a.m.
Attached were estimates of the costs to the division as well as the additional burden placed on staff and the community for each model. While costs to the division for the first two models would be minimal, as Walts said in his presentation, they would be significant for the community and employees, changing daycare needs, athletics times and parental schedules. The last model would cost the division the most in the form of new bus drivers to accommodate middle and high schoolers at the same time.
Next month, LaTanya McDade will take over for Walts as superintendent and have a hand in crafting any possible changes.