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School starts Friday; new schedules in effect

Lamar County school board members voted unanimously to approve new start times for each school at their July 18 meeting. When students return to school this Friday, July 28, middle and high school students will need to arrive by 7:30 a.m. and remain until 2:30 p.m. Primary and elementary school students will be in school from 8:15 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. Superintendent Dr. Jute Wilson noted that there are pros and cons to the new plan but thinks it will greatly benefit the school system, decrease after school traffic and be helpful for students who take part in after school activities and would otherwise have to leave classes early to participate. ’The first issues is that our younger students were riding on buses with older students and even though the youngest students were encouraged to sit in the front of the bus, that situation was not ideal,’ said Dr. Wilson. ‘This will help alleviate the traffic, bus safety and driver shortage issues we have been facing. It has unanimous support from all principals and directors and seems like it will be the best thing for the school system. It has academic, financial and definitely safety value.’ He said the buses will meet at the high school first, travel quickly to the middle school and then take students home before returning to the primary and elementary schools to pick up children. ’Bus pickup will be a lot more efficient and quicker since there will be no elementary and primary school traffic at that time,’ he said. ‘We checked with all the surrounding school systems and everybody staggers school release times. We also couldn’t find another school system that puts kindergarteners on the same buses as teenagers.’ He said it will also be safer for high school students who cross the highway to play sports after school since traffic will not be as heavy. Dr. Wilson also said students active in clubs and athletics in the middle and high schools were missing significant amounts of class time due to being released early to travel to competitions against other schools.

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