Prince William County’s elementary, middle, and high school students will see adjustments in their start and release times this fall, ranging anywhere from five to 45 minutes.
Changes in bell schedules this school year are due to the traffic congestion across the county, increase in student enrollment, the opening of new schools, and boundary adjustments, according to David Miller, associate superintendent for school services.
“The county is growing,” Miller said. “Traffic is the biggest impact with growth in the county.”
Start times for elementary schoolers range from as early as 8:25 a.m. to as late at 9:30 a.m. Release times fall in a window from 2:30 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.
All elementary students will be out before 4 p.m., Miller said.
All but 18 of 47 elementary schools in the county will have early dismissal on Thursdays. The exceptions are: Antietam, Ashland, Belmont, Dale City, Enterprise, Henderson, Leesylvania, Loch Lomond, Marumsco Hills, McAuliffe, Mullen, Neabsco, Old Bridge, Penn, Sudley and Yorkshire elementary schools.
J.W. Alvey Elementary School, opening in Haymarket this fall, will not have early release on Thursdays. Pennington School will also not have early release.
At the elementary schools, Thursday early dismissal times have been adjusted by 5 to 55 minutes earlier or later than last year’s schedule. Release times are as early as 12:25 to as late as 1:15 p.m.
Middle schools will start and release 10 minutes later than last year to allow enough time between the middle and high school schedules.
The middle school 10-minute change affected the elementary change. The additional 10 minutes gives a better chance of getting buses to school on time, according to Edward Bishop, Prince William School director of transportation.
Ten of 13 middle schools will begin at 8:10 a.m. and release at 2:50 p.m. Lake Ridge, Rippon and Stonewall Middle students will go to school from 8 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
At all all eight high schools, students will go from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Roughly 647 buses will traverse the county transporting students, according to Bishop.
“These buses do a lot of cross-boundary work,” Bishop said.
Other factors taken in account when making changes in the upcoming year’s bell schedule include: number of bus drivers/size of district, the county’s school design/set up of bus loop, police support, faculty available for offloading the buses and the length of the school year, Bishop said.
Though changes in bell schedules is a routine yearly adjustment, parents have been encouraged to closely review each school’s times.
A bell schedule for all schools can be found at the school division’s Web site at http://www.pwcs.edu/pressrel.htm under the July 2003 news release titled “Prince William County Public Schools Announce School Times for SY 2003-2004.”