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Proposal to change start times at two West Island schools raises concerns

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A proposal to change the start times of two Pointe-Claire schools to accommodate an influx of new students following a merger is raising concern among some parents. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Feb 23, 2021

A proposed change in start time at a few West Island schools is creating concern among parents.

At their meeting Monday night, the Lester B. Pearson School Board faced questions from multiple parents of students at St John Fisher Elementary about a possible later start time.

With St. Thomas High School moving to the building occupied by Lindsay Place High School this fall, the board says almost 2,000 students will be converging on the same small area of Pointe-Claire every morning.

Read more: Lester B. Pearson School Board offering virtual open house tours

“The primary considerations are around the safe and secure movement of students to and from school,” said Noel Burke, the Lester B. Pearson School Board chair, in response to questions about the idea from three different parents.

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Burke said he had received a lot of correspondence from concerned parents about the proposal in the past week.

Read more: Pointe-Claire’s Lindsay Place High School to close as St. Thomas moves in: school board

“You can appreciate that what is occurring this fall will be the increase of approximately 1,000 students to a neighbourhood campus, three schools on essentially the same plot of land and all the logistical problems that will be presented,” he said, explaining that buses and parents all converging on the area at the same time could be dangerous.

Burke said the board is looking at the possibility of pushing St. John Fisher’s start time back to some time between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. The junior campus currently starts at 8:10 a.m., and the senior campus starts at 8 a.m. St. Thomas currently starts just before 8 a.m., and would continue to do so at the new location under the current proposal.

The Board is planning a meeting to discuss the matter in the coming weeks, with a final decision likely coming at the end of March.

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