VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The votes are in, Virginia Beach high schoolers are one step closer to starting the school day a little later.
School board members voted unanimously Tuesday night to change school start times after the district looked into the change for the last few years.
However, this isn’t the final step for the proposed changes.
This vote now allows the superintendent to start the planning process to incorporate later start times.
Right now high schools start class at 7:20 a.m. According to the district, it’s a change that many want.
“My daughter catches the bus at like 6:10 in the morning,” Rhonda Varner said. “As a parent, it’s less of a struggle. It’s less of a struggle to get her up.”
Results from a 2017 survey of stakeholders showed only 36 perccent of parents were happy with the current school start times. More than 70 percent of parents, staff, and students agreed a later start time is better for overall health and wellness.
10 On Your Side asked parents what they think about the decision.
“I think it will really help teens to focus more and they need to be able to focus more because this is some of the most important learning they will have before they go off and become independent adults,” Varner said.
But to others, the current start time isn’t an issue.
“We enjoy that it starts earlier because my daughter likes to get up early and she’s ready to go,” said Amy Johansen. “Getting home earlier, she has a chance to work a job and also have time to get homework done at a decent time and get to bed earlier.”
Johansen said she remembers when Virginia Beach school times were changed to start earlier.
“It changed when I was still in school so that a lot of older kids could be home to watch the younger siblings,” she said.
Superintendent Aaron Spence is now tasked with figuring out how to make the later start times work. He’ll present options to the school board and it’s scheduled to go to a vote in September 2019.
If that final vote passes, the later start times will begin in September 2020.