Morning traffic woes prompt changes to tardy policy


Franklin Wei

Drivers wait through the morning traffic. The five-minute schedule change has exacerbated traffic issues on NW School Road.

The new year has brought its share of new traffic headaches for Northwest’s student drivers. The start of school was moved forward by five minutes in a county-wide effort to make up the instruction time that was lost due to inclement weather. (Incidentally, it will take until April for the two 2-hour delays in the past two weeks to be made up by the additional five minutes.)

It’s annoying when you have to get in the left turn lane before the middle school”

— senior Michael Langston

The schedule change has led to significant traffic backups of NW School Road, sometimes extending past the middle school.

“It’s annoying when you have to get in the left turn lane before the middle school,” senior Michael Langston said. “That’s already happened three times this week.”

These backups have created delays for students, which have led to a spike in first-period tardies.

Media specialist Natalie Strange said that it was “taking forever” to check these students in through the usual procedure of getting a note from the attendance office, which was reducing students’ class time.

Because of this difficulty, the School-Based Leadership Team (SBLT) has revised the first-period tardy policy. From now on, students arriving between 8:50 and 9:00 will no longer be required to get a note from the attendance office, but will still be marked tardy by their teachers and subjected to the same consequences of the old tardy policy. The responsibility for enforcing these consequences has shifted onto teachers, who are now expected to assign ASD and ISS in accordance with a student’s tardies. This change was made in an effort to “maintain the consequences of the tardy policy” while “maximizing class time,” said Strange, who serves on the SBLT.

Additionally, the SBLT also decided to give all students a “clean slate” starting next semester to make it easier for teachers to track tardies. With this change, all students will have their tardy counts reset to zero starting next week.

The SBLT also considered other alternatives to help ease traffic in the mornings, but none of them passed. These included a reinstatement of last year’s 8:55-3:50 school day along with a “senior bell” at 3:45, but this failed to pass and was deemed unfair, as it would only be in place for the remainder of this school year.