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Chesterfield students react to proposed schedule change

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. - Chesterfield school leaders have long discussed changing school start times for high school students, but after several proposals, a final decision may have been reached.

The option under consideration would flip elementary and high school start times, and move the schedule back by 25 minutes. The change wouldn’t be uniform across the primary schools.

Twenty-seven elementary schools would start their day at 7:45 a.m. and end it by 2:15 p.m.

The remaining 11 elementary and eight middle schools in the county would start at 8:35 a.m. and end at 3: 05 p.m.

The remaining middle schoolers would check in at 9:30 a.m. and the day would end at 4 p.m. for them.

That same schedule would go for all high schools.

The time change is intended to help students.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a position statement recommending that all middle school and high schools push back their start times to 8:30 at the earliest," parent Dr. Sarah Sneed said.

Chesterfield County Schools spokesman Shawn Smith previously said the main concern is money for extra buses and bus drivers.

Students have other concerns, like keeping jobs, sports, and extracurricular activities.

“I know, me, I get home earlier, so I go out to help my sister,” said one student. “So I feel like if she gets home before me we will have to get a babysitter.”

“It’s [school] is supposed to be preparing us for the real world after school, and we can’t just tell our boss ‘can I come in later because I had to stay out all night,’” another student said. “What are they trying to teach us?”

“Are you trying to get us ready for the real world, or just trying to give us leeway so we can sleep in,” she added.

“I think that’s absolutely a terrible idea,” said one parent.

This latest option would still have to be approved by the Chesterfield School Board. They still plan to host meetings for the community to chime in about the time changes.

If the time changes were implemented, it wouldn’t be until fall 2018.