Frequently Asked Questions

return to topWhat are our current school hours?

  Current School Hours
High Schools

7:20 a.m. - 2:05 p.m.

8:25 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
Middle Schools 8:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
8:05 a.m. - 2:50 p.m.
Elementary Schools 8:45 a.m. - 3:21 p.m.
9:00 a.m. - 3:36 p.m.

return to topWhat alternatives are being considered?

  Option C School Hours Option D School Hours
High Schools

8:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
8:35 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.
8:25 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
7:50 a.m. - 2:35 p.m.

8:25 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
Middle Schools 9:10 a.m. - 3:55 p.m.
9:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
9:25 a.m. - 4:10 p.m.
Elementary Schools 7:50 a.m. - 2:26 p.m. 8:30 a.m. - 3:06 p.m.
8:45 a.m. - 3:21 p.m.

return to topWhy is this change being considered?

The school division began reviewing start and dismissal times at the request of the School Board. This review began based on discussions about research regarding academic benefits of later school start times for high school students. Current research regarding teen sleep habits finds that later school start times align more closely with teenagers' natural sleep cycles. Additional information regarding this research and current trends for school start times is available here.

return to topAre the School Board and School Division endorsing these alternatives?

The School Board and School Division has not endorsed these alternatives or stated that they are better than the current school hours. The School Board and School Division want to consider the alternatives further and obtain input from students, parents, and staff members regarding the alternatives.

return to topWill input from stakeholders be solicited?

Yes. The division plans to seek parent, student and staff feedback later this school year through a variety of methods, including online surveys.

return to topIf the division decides to implement one of the alternatives, when would the new school hours be implemented?

If a decision is made to adopt one of the alternatives, new school hours would not be implemented until the year after next (September, 2015) in order to allow for thorough planning.

return to topWhat steps have been taken so far?

Division staff reviewed the current school start times and presented the School Board with a series of scenarios that could accommodate later high school start times. Some of these options, such as an option that would have placed elementary school students at bus stops during morning hours when it would still be dark outside, were then eliminated from further consideration.

return to topWhy does changing the High School start times impact start times for all other schools?

The York County School Division implements a three-tier system for school start times. This allows the division to operate efficiently by scheduling the same school bus and bus driver to transport students from multiple schools. For example, one driver may complete a high school bus route, a middle school bus route and then an elementary bus route. Changing one level of the three tier system would therefore require adjusting the other levels.

return to topWhy doesn't the division just use more buses and drivers?

Adding additional buses and drivers would have a significant impact on the school division's Operating Budget. The School Board is committed to prioritizing funding for classroom instruction and therefore is not in favor of incurring additional transportation expenses related to school start times.

return to topDoes that mean there are no additional costs to change school start times?

Division staff are carefully reviewing the suggested options for adjusted school start times to determine whether either option would result in additional costs. Any costs identified will be presented to the School Board for consideration.

return to topHow would athletics and other extracurricular activities be affected?

This topic is still being reviewed. Some athletic and extracurricular activities would be relatively unaffected by a change to start times, while others may be impacted.

return to topIf a new schedule had middle schools being released last, how would that affect middle school teachers coaching high school athletic teams?

Since many high school athletic practices and games occur later in the afternoon, there will still be opportunities for middle school teachers to coach high school athletic teams.

return to topHas the school division considered the implications to student/family situations regarding child care?

Yes, the division has considered that a change to school start times may impact child care arrangements, such as older siblings who care for younger siblings after school.

With both Option C and D, elementary schools would start and end earlier than the current schedule. Some families with elementary age children may no longer need child care in the morning. Some additional families with elementary school age children may want child care in the afternoon.

With Option C, neither high school students or middle school students would be available to provide child care for elementary school students at the time of their afternoon dismissal. With Option D, high school students would still be able to provide afternoon sibling child care for elementary and middle school students. Middle school students would dismiss last under Option D so they would not be available to provide child care as soon as elementary schools dismiss.

With Options C and D, middle schools would dismiss seventy to eighty-five minutes later so some parents might want child care for middle school students before school starts.

The division has reviewed the before and after school programs available on-site at elementary schools and found that there is room for increased capacity both before- and after-school, if necessary. The provider of before and after school programs available on-site at elementary school has also indicated that programs could be provided at the middle school level if there were sufficient interest.

We plan to include questions in our survey of parents relating to child care.

return to topHow do YCSD high school start times compare to other schools in Virginia?

A review of statewide school start times for the 2012-2013 school year was also a part of the staff research conducted to date on this topic. Schools divisions across the state of Virginia have a wide variety of high school start times, with some as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 9 a.m. In the Region II area, comprised of school division in the greater Hampton Roads area and the Eastern Shore, eight school divisions began the high school day prior to 7:30 a.m., while five began the high school day at 8 a.m. or later.

Region II High School Start Times
School Division Time School Division Time
Williamsburg/JCC 7:20 AM Franklin 7:40 AM
York 7:20 AM Accomack 7:40 AM
Newport News 7:20 AM Northampton 8:00 AM
Poquoson 7:20 AM Southampton 8:15 AM
Isle of Wight 7:25 AM Hampton 8:20 AM
Norfolk 7:25 AM Suffolk 8:30 AM
Portsmouth 7:25 AM Chesapeake 8:40 AM
Virginia Beach 7:25 AM    

return to topWhat are the next steps?

Community Informational Nights are being planned. Students, parents, and staff members will also be invited to participate in an online survey this spring. Parents, students and community members with comments about the recommendation can email with comments or questions about school start times.

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