The Effect of the New Delayed Bell Schedule on the Briar Woods Community

Anjali Chinnareddy, Reporter

Last year, Loudoun County experienced a shortage of bus drivers. The few bus drivers left were needed to go to more neighborhoods to pick up children that currently didn’t have a bus driver. In turn, more kids ended up being late to school because their bus would come late.

 In hopes of solving this problem, Loudoun County Schools decided to change school timings. They had elementary schools start earlier than normal and opened high schools at a later time. If school start times were more staggered, it would give bus drivers more time to drive to different bus stops. Many students and teachers are still trying to get adjusted to this new schedule. 

Even though 15 minutes does not seem like much, it plays a huge part into after school activities. Although practices haven’t been ending much later, many athletes rush to get to practice after school since there is no time to waste. 

“The later bell schedule allows a lot less time before practice. It increases the stress because there is so much to do in so little time,” varsity volleyball player Olivia Wagner said. Since a lot of the team are juniors “[they] have to move [their] cars, get changed, and eat something because lunch is now earlier.” Although there is a lot of stress for the afternoon practice, Wagner likes “getting a little more sleep in the mornings as well, especially after late game nights.” 

This new bell schedule does not only affect students, it also affects teachers. With the times changing, it changes many teacher’s commute to work. Many live in different counties with different school start times. But how does it impact teachers that reside in Loudoun County?

 “Since I get out later than usual, I usually just hit a little bit more traffic on the way home,” CTE teacher Angela Woodward mentioned. Although Woodward gets stuck in more traffic, she thinks this year’s schedule is easier for her. “I have a younger student and it’s easier to get him on the bus in the mornings and then still make it here on time.”

Many students also have after school jobs, but now with the added delay of 15 minutes at dismissal, how does it impact them? For some students, their jobs don’t start well until school has ended. Other places of work, such as Ashby Ponds Senior Living center, have pushed back their start time for student employees in hopes of better accommodations. But, what about student employees whose place of work don’t have these accommodations set?

“It’s kind of annoying because I park and if I don’t get to my car in time, then all the cars start lining up behind me” Senior Ryan Peele said. Once he finally gets out of the crowded parking lot and gets home he has to “get changed and go right to work” causing him to have “very little time.” 

The early lunch schedule and “having to rush to places faster after school” makes Peele believe that the extra 15 minutes in the morning “is not really worth it.”