Fairfax County considering change to middle school start times

Middle school students in Fairfax County could soon be getting a little extra shut-eye.

The school district is exploring pushing back start times.

FOX 5’s Maureen Umeh says studies have shown that later start times may have a positive impact on student academic performance and mental and emotional well-being. 

Right now, all FCPS middle schools start at 7:30 a.m. The county has hired the consulting firm Prismatic Services, to develop an action plan to start the school day at or after 8 am. 

The plan is expected to include a draft bell schedule, a community engagement plan and an analysis of alternatives.

School officials say the key elements of any recommendation will include how they impact the county’s budget, and whether middle school start times can be changed without affecting those for elementary and high schools.

Reaction from parents we spoke with was mixed.

Start times aren’t a new issue for FCPS. The high school start time was pushed back to 8 a.m. or later in the 2015-2016 school year.

The consulting firm studying the middle school start tune will make its recommendation next January. 

If a change is made, it will begin in the 2025-26 school year.