MCPS gives proposal for new start times yet again

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At the beginning of last year, the county pushed back school start times by 20 minutes for all levels of schooling in a course of action that yielded mixed results. The adverse effects have sent the county back to the drawing board, and rumors are that yet another change to the start time could be on the way.
When the county made the decision to move the school start times back by 20 minutes last year, the effects were evident immediately. Here for instance, the change led to increased traffic on the way to school in the morning. The drive up the parkway now is at least 10 minutes because of the swarm of traffic; a lengthy addition to a morning journey that was already quite long.
Bused students used to enjoy 20 minutes in between arriving at school and the start of first classes, providing them ample time to get before school help from their teachers or even to squeeze in time with friends that is hard to come by throughout a busy school day. That time has vanished under the time change, as the early morning traffic has resulted in students getting to school with little time to spare before the first bell sets the day in motion. “There is always a ton of traffic on Wootton Parkway in the morning, and it makes the ride to school so much longer,” junior Daniel Philipose said.
The main reason for the original switch was the argument for giving students more sleep. While this has been effective in some regards, it has also been counteracted by the aforementioned traffic issue. Many buses have been forced to start their morning routes earlier in order to still make it to school at time amidst the traffic. This change has made for a slighter net gain of sleep for students. For many students, the difference is insignificant at best. “It’s still hard to wake up in the morning. Twenty extra minutes of sleep can’t suddenly turn someone into a morning person,” sophomore Justin Slud said
In order to bring to life the full desired effects of pushing back the start times, the county may be pushing it back even further. In September, the teachers’ union drafted three proposals for how the start times could be pushed back further. Proposed schedule one would push the high school start time to 8:50 with a dismissal time of 3:35, Proposal two would move it to 7:55 with a dismissal time of 2:40 and Proposal 3 would change it to 8:35 with a dismissal time of 3:15.
All three proposed changes would move the elementary school schedule to being earlier in the day, while only Proposal 2 would inflict change upon the middle school schedule, moving the start time 50 minutes earlier than it is now. The proposals will each be voted on during an upcoming union meeting, and the most popular of which will be sent to the Board of Education for further consideration. Should one of these proposals eventually be set into action, it would be met favorably among the student body. “Students would be able to focus more if school times were pushed even further back,” sophomore Matthew Wu said.

 

Peter Hechler

News Editor