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New start times, late buses affect first day of school in Kanawha County

Between late buses and an earlier start time, the first day at Chamberlain Elementary School in Charleston didn’t start as smoothly as administrators would have liked. (WCHS/WVAH)

It was a busy morning for families in Kanawha County with students heading back to school.

Between late buses and an earlier start time, the first day at Chamberlain Elementary School in Charleston didn’t start as smoothly as administrators would have liked.

One of the big concerns for many families was the earlier start time and how it would affect their schedules.

"We got up really early. We came here a little bit early,” said Cassie White, whose son goes to Chamberlain Elementary School.

This year, many elementary schools in Kanawha County start at 7:30 a.m., which is a half hour earlier than last year.

It's something dozens of parents were concerned about, but for White, she said it works better for her.

"I like the early schedule better,” White said. “It took him (son) a little bit more to get adjusted though."

Not everyone is a fan of the 7:30 a.m. start time.

"These kids shouldn't be out especially when it gets cold, it's dark when they come out and catch the bus, so that's really tough on them,” said Linda Slack, whose grandson goes to Chamberlain Elementary School.

There were a few hiccups on the first day when it came to transportation. One bus for Chamberlain Elementary School was almost an hour late.

"We had parents calling, and I just gave them the bus garage phone number because I didn't know what was going on,” said Phoebe McCloud, principal at Chamberlain Elementary School.

Kanawha County Schools spokesperson Briana Warner said the late buses are due to a combination of adjusting back into the school year and meeting exact times mixed with the bus driver shortage.

Warner said new GPS technology is being used to try to find the closest buses that can be used to correct the issues.

But McCloud said tardiness can affect the flow at school.

"It's rough for the teachers, of course, to kind of get them settled in especially being new into their classrooms and to keep on teaching the kids who have been here,” McCloud said. “I just don't want anxiety for the students, so we'll just do the best we can and hope for the best."

McCloud said over the next few days they will be working with families to try to get them adjusted to the new start time. She said she hopes the bus issues get straightened out quickly.

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