Some Richmond parents left confused over sudden school start time changes

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RICHMOND, Va. — The day before school started, parents with kids in Richmond public high schools were struggling to figure out what time their kids needed to be ready for the first day of school.

Ushan Arnone has a child at Franklin Military Academy, and another starting Richmond Community High School.

Arnone said she attended orientations for both of her children’s schools, and had everything planned out well in advance. 

But while on vacation, she got word Richmond Schools changed all high school start times.

“You know where they need to be, but you don’t know what time they need to be there, and then how do you adjust your schedule?" Arone said.

Friday, superintendent Jason Kamras tweeted out a two-page letter explaining that Richmond high schools will start at 7:50 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. - partly because the Virginia Board of Education uncovered that many high school class periods were too short to meet the state’s minimum requirements.

"I saw it on your news station, otherwise my daughter would have been 10 minutes late and I probably would have had to drive her because she would’ve missed the bus,” Arone said.  “It's really frustrating because that was not what they told us when we went there for orientation."

Monday, a sign in front of Huguenot High School said class starts at 7:45 a.m. on September 4, adding to the confusion as parents scrambled to readjust and make sure their kids were not late on the first day of school.

In the letter, Kamras said because of the urgency to make the change ahead of the school year, he made this decision before discussing it with the school board - although he plans to meet with with them Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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