Hectic Bus Schedule Adds Complication to Existing Start Time Confusion


With the new FCPS bell schedule a reality, buses and car-owning students could face challenges in the next few weeks. Talking about the initial complications with the buses on the first day of school, Mr. Case identified rush hour traffic and the buses’ first stop being Sandburg Middle School as the main causes of the initial delay.

“It’s a new system, so there’s a lot of change,” he says. “We’ve gone from being the first in the loop to being the second school that most of those buses serve [after Sandburg Middle School]. Pair that with the traffic on Fort Hunt Road, even all the way up to Beacon Hill or Quander [Road].”

Case also identified improvements that were being made after the initial delay with the buses on the first day.

“Eighteen out of twenty-five buses were late on the first morning. By the second morning it was only one bus that came after 8:10. I think they realized that they going to have to back that time up quicker, get the kids off at Sandberg a little bit quicker, and just keep going, because it’s a very, very tight schedule they have.”

Students who drive their car to school have also had to contend with arriving to school at almost the same time as the buses. Case discussed how profound the impact has been on student drivers.

“The impact has not been as bad county-wide as they anticipated. We [WPHS] are sort of an outlier in terms of how challenging it’s been to get things here before the 8:10 start time. Most of the county hasn’t really seen much of a difficulty, but I think the fact of the matter is that the later the student drivers are leaving in the morning, the more they are impacted by adult work traffic as well as buses on the road.”

Finally, Case discussed the possible impact the difficulty with the buses has had on attendance.

“We haven’t had to be very tight on attendance this week because it’s been just sort of seeing what goes, but as soon as we get those buses in check in terms of making sure that they can all be in at the regular time, we’re going to have to clamp down on the morning arrival, because we can’t have people missing ten or twenty minutes of first and second period classes. However, it appears to me that student drivers have been doing pretty good in terms of getting into the parking lot on time.”