Edmond Public Schools is altering its transportation schedules for the 2020-2021 school year which will require a change in start times for every school in the district.

Last year, the district transported around 10,000 students to and from school-the second-highest ridership in the state behind Tulsa Public Schools. The increase in riders, especially middle school students, coupled with a shortage of bus drivers, often resulted in overcrowded buses and inferior service.

“This is a change we have needed for some time,” said Superintendent Bret Towne. “It will allow us to provide faster, safer, and more reliable service. Additionally, it will assist us in ensuring social distancing when possible.”

Particularly problematic has been the secondary bus routes where middle and high school students ride together. The new transportation schedule adds a middle school route, eliminating that issue.

student boards school bus

“I have had numerous conversations with parents over the years who do not want their young adolescents riding with more mature high school students,” noted Towne.

By adding a new middle school bus route, the district will need to modify the start time of middle schools from 7:50 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. Middle schools will dismiss at 2:15 p.m. instead of 2:40 p.m. to give bus drivers time to transport students home before returning to high school to pick up riders.

The change in middle school start times, will, in turn, affect all other bus drop off times and corresponding school start and dismissal times.

“Our district spans 130 square miles, so changes to the transportation schedule create a domino effect in our district. Drivers need adequate time between routes to return to schools to pick up the next riders,” explained Towne.

The new bus drop off times and school start times are as follows:

School Start Times 2020-2021

Schools

Bus Drop off

School Begins

Lunches

School Dismisses

Length of Class

Middle Schools

7:10 a.m.

7:40 a.m.

10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

48 Minutes

High Schools

7:50 a.m.

8:20 a.m.

10:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m.

2:55 p.m.

55 minutes

Early Start Elementary

8:20 a.m.

8:50 a.m.

10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

3:25 p.m.

NA

Late Start Elementary

8:50 a.m.

9:20 a.m.

10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

3:55 p.m.

NA

The new transportation schedule pushes back the start of school for high school students by 40 minutes. Numerous studies show that a later start time for high school students improves their mental health, attendance, and academic performance.

“The new schedule presents advantages for our high school students, but we also want to be mindful of how the changes affect our younger students. We will continuously monitor the changes and intended outcomes and could adjust the transportation schedule in the future if necessary,” noted Towne.