Bell Times: FAQs
Bell Time Adjustment Frequently Asked Questions for the 2020-21 school year.
- How will COVID-19 impact this new bell time decision?
- How does this impact Middle School?
- Will this impact Before and After School Enrichment (BASE) hours?
- How will this impact transportation and drop off times?
- How will this impact High School schedules?
- Do the new bell times for 2020-21 impact charter schools?
- Do the new bell times for 2020-21 impact K-8 schools?
- Are any schools excluded from this change?
- Why can't all levels just start at the time?
Our hope is to start next school year with in-person learning as normal. We also recognize the need to prepare for the possibility that we may have to adjust our expectations at any point over the course of the summer and next school year due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Should COVID-19 shift the way students attend school in the fall, we will evaluate new schedules and times at that point.
Again, we will implement the new bell schedule only if we are able to resume normal operations for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Because the situation around COVID-19 is constantly evolving, we anticipate communicating final plans for the 2020-2021 school year, with the latest guidance from public health experts, by July 31, 2020.
We recognize concerns about morning supervision and co-curricular opportunities for middle school families as the start time moves to 9 a.m.
To meet the varying needs of our middle school families, all middle schools will offer the following opportunities to students beginning this fall:
- Expanded club and activity offerings before school.
- A study hall opportunity where students can complete schoolwork in a structured environment. This program will be offered at a reduced cost (not to exceed $3.50/day per student) and participants will pay on a quarterly basis.
Each middle school will share specifics about these opportunities as they communicate with families about the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
As long as school is operating normal (not impacted by COVID-19), BASE will continue to operate at the existing schedule: 6:30 a.m to 6:00 p.m. Start time for BASE will not be pushed later by 30 minutes. For more information on BASE, visit www.adams12.org/BASE.
In some cases, your bus pickup time will simply be 30 minutes later, but as transportation begins to evaluate routes based on this new bell schedule, your bus pickup time may change. You will receive communication for your bus schedule prior to the start of the year.
For student drop-off times, schools will continue to follow standard drop-off procedures as per normal and will not open earlier due to the 30 minute bell time push. Check with your specific school for more information.
In addition to the later start times, beginning in the 2020-21 school year, each of our five comprehensive high schools will have the same common bell schedule for class and passing periods. This will allow students to better access FutureForward Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses at our two CTE campuses, Bollman and Washington Square.
Charter schools within the Five Star District are not subject to any potential bell schedule changes. This includes New America School, Prospect Ridge Academy, Stargate School and Westgate Community School. Charter school families are encouraged to contact their specific charter school with any questions regarding the school's bell schedule.
K-8 schools within Adams 12 Five Star Schools operate on their own schedule and are not subject to this time change. This includes Hulstrom, STEM Lab, STEM Launch and Thunder Vista.
This new bell schedule does not apply to Centennial and Thornton Elementary due to their unique program schedule.
There are many reasons why each level (elementary, middle and high) can't start at the same time. One concern is that every level has different length of days - the high school school day is longer than the elementary - which makes timing in the afternoon difficult for busing.
The biggest concern is bus transportation to school. Currently we operate on a three-tiered system where the same bus drops off students at high, then elementary, then middle. To have enough buses to transport all students at the same time, we would need three times the amount of buses, as well as bus drivers (a position that is historically hard to fill). When going through the process of reconsidering bell times, we evaluated the costs of going to a two-tiered system (two levels at the same time and one later) and the cost was estimated at $4.5 million to buy new buses and pay for new employees. A one-tiered system, where all levels are dropped off at the same time, would likely cost double that estimate, if not more. In a time of economic downturn, this was not an option for the district.
Another concern is families who have students in various levels of school and not being able to drop off a middle school student at the same time as an elementary student. Same applies to older siblings who drive or walk their family to/from school.