BREAKING UPDATE: The Virginia Beach School Board unanimously voted Tuesday night in approval of later start times for city high schools. Click here to read the latest.
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It may not be long before high schoolers in Virginia Beach get a chance to hit the snooze button before taking off for class.
Right now the bell rings at 7:20 a.m., but that time could get pushed back significantly. The proposal is up for a vote at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“It’s really about health and wellness and student health,” said Daniel Keever, Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ senior director for high schools. “The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014 indicated via a position paper that they authored that a start time for adolescent students should be 8:30 a.m. or later.”
District officials have taken several steps over the past few years to see if moving the high school time back is feasible.
In the spring of 2016, a transportation study revealed different routes they could take.
Keever says a spring 2017 stakeholder survey showed 78 percent of parents agreed that a later start time would be beneficial.
Now the school board is taking it to a vote.
“If the board takes affirmative action tomorrow evening, the start times in Virginia Beach would change in the fall of 2020,” said Keever.
If approved, Keever says they would spend the next six to eight months figuring out what those changes would ultimately look like.
Then Virginia Beach schools would bring it back to the board in the summer of 2019.
He says a transition this big could have a domino effect.
“It could have an impact on all of our students because as we begin to shift times around we may move the different tiers so all of the students could be impacted,” he explained.
There will be more time for those involved to add input into what they think is the best course of action.
Keever says right now he’s not sure if that will be in the form of surveys, focus group sessions or community forums.