Is 15 Minutes Really Worth the Hassle?


By Amogha Bangalore

As of January 22, 2022 there have been changes to the schedules of Loudoun County Public Schools. The changes are different for elementary, middle and high school. All these schedule changes will be put into motion in the 2022-2023 school year. 

A total of 28 elementary LCPS schools will be changing to 7:30 am – 2:15 pm. There will be an exception for Waxpool Elementary which will begin their school day 45 minutes earlier rather than 20 to 25 minutes earlier. This has caused some worry with parents who feel that this could be dangerous in some cases for their kids who could be walking to their bus stops in the dark.

 “I’m really scared for my child’s safety walking to the school bus stop this early in the morning”, said Nicole Marie, a Leesburg Elementary school mom. LCPS understands this fear and they are working with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office who are in charge of the crossing guards in order to ensure the kids safety.  

For the LCPS middle schools, they will change their schedules to start at 8: 30 am to 3:18 pm which is a time change of 5 to 25 minutes earlier. Seven middle schools are also changing their hours from 8:50 am to 3:38 pm which is a time shift of 10 to 20 minutes later. The exception is for Smart’s Mill Middle School which will be starting five minutes earlier. The middle schools included in this are Belmont Ridge, Eagle Ridge, J. Michael Lunsform, River bend, Smart’s Mill, Stone Hill, and Trailside. Emily O’Neill, a Smart’s Mill mom, worries that it will affect the students’ after-school schedules because of their sports and extracurriculars. 

With High School, all of LCPS will change their hours to 9:30 am to 4:18 pm. That would be a 15 minute time change in the evening except for Woodgrove and Loudoun Valley which are 20 minutes later. For other schools like ACL and the North Star School, there will be around a 10-15 minute change. These choices have not gotten the most support. 

Hannah Schmittle, a 10th grader at Tuscarora, feels this is not the best decision. She says, “Changing the times from as little as 15 minutes isn’t going to really make a difference.” 

Many people have voiced their opinion similarly to her. Many students get home at around 5- 5:30 which would be even more delayed after this schedule change next year. 

“I think if the buses are the issue, they should just send out different and more buses that will arrive on time.” said by Nick Williams, also a 10th grader at Tuscarora. The buses are essentially the main reason this is happening. Written in the official statement made by LCPS, “Making these schedule changes also will address a bus driver shortage by cutting the number of second runs to schools significantly. It also will result in fewer delays and a more reliable schedule for students and their families.” The new times have also been carefully determined by the exact proximity of various schools to each other, size of the bus areas, and traffic patterns.

Essentially, although there could be benefits to this schedule change, it seems to be a little pointless to many students. They feel that for such a short change, not much will come from it. At the same time, LCPS has thoroughly discussed it and they feel it will be beneficial to both students and teachers to have a solid schedule moving forward. Although there is always a possibility for a change, the decision is all part of LCPS’s official statement.