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Durham School Board Wants Students To Stay In Class Until 4 pm & Thousands Are Protesting

The petition argues the change will impact students mental health.

Thousands of residents have now signed a petition protesting the Durham District School Board's (DDSB) decision to change its bell time schedule.

DDSB announced earlier this month that it would be changing class time to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for secondary students. The board revealed to Narcity that the change was made due to a shortage of bus drivers.

"There has been a shortage of school bus drivers across the province over the last number of years," a spokesperson for DDSB told Narcity. "Though Durham Region had been less impacted than other areas of the province in previous years, the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the issue."

"As a result, the 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. schedule was the only way that Durham Student Transportation Services could ensure all eligible students could receive transportation services," they added.

Since the announcement, an online petition calling for a change to class hours has been started. It argues that forcing students to stay in class until 4:00 p.m. will cause damaging conflicts with part-time work hours and extracurricular activities.

"This change is extremely impactful to high school students as it; interferes with part-time work hours, makes extracurriculars unmanageable, financially impacts students and their home lives, and destroys the mental, physical, emotional, and financial lives of high school students," reads the petition.

Created one week ago, the petition has gathered over 2,500 signatures.

The school board has stated that the decision is temporary and that officials will be monitoring how families and staff adapt to the change.