Pasco County Wildfire Causes New Bell Schedule For School

The Starkey Park wildfire is impacting more than just wilderness. Pasco County Schools and Pasco County Emergency Management decided to continue a later school day start on Monday, May 15 for River Ridge Middle and High schools.

Last Monday, May 8 students showing up to the middle and high school faced difficult visibility due to large amounts of smoke. The students were sent home, and the district decided to start school at 10:45 a.m. for the rest of the week.

This morning’s conditions caused the late start to continue. District leaders and county emergency operations staff have a conference call scheduled for this morning to determine if the 10:45 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. bell schedule will continue or if it is now safe to go back to regular bell schedule starting Tuesday.

“We hope we will be able to resume the regular schedule beginning on Tuesday, but the weather forecast will dictate what we do moving forward,” said Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning to ABC Action news.

The late start bell schedule is causing conflict for students with after-school sports and activities. Some students are even running into problems with after-school jobs. River Ridge middle and high school officials have been working with students to negotiate these problems.

According to fire officials, low visibility could be a problem could be an issue for more than a month.