Apopka Blue Darters are literally darting to make it to class on time

Students at Apopka High start petition to get more time between classes

APOPKA, Fla. – This new school year, Orange County Schools have reduced the amount of time between classes for high school students from seven minutes to six minutes, and students and parents at Apopka High School say that one minute is the difference between being on time and tardy. 

"It's like really shorter," senior Dominick Morales said. "I see a lot of kids running in the hallways especially, like, the freshmen because they want to get to class early."

Orange County Public Schools say all high schools had the scheduling change implemented this year. 

"All high schools have a six-minute pass time between classes. This provides an additional 18 hours of instructional time per year," said OCPS spokesperson Lorena Arias.

She says that's to also not extend the school day. 

"I also wanted to add that all high schools begin and end at the same time this school year. This change ensures we meet all required FLDOE (Florida Department of Education) minutes for high school courses," Arias said. 

However, at Apopka High School, where the campus is spread out, students say it is a trek to go from the main building to the ninth-grade center at the north side of campus. According to a measurement on Google maps, the distance is 1,330 feet, which is about a quarter of a mile and the length of approximately four and a half football fields. 

Senior Briana Calderon says she's already been late this week. 

"I have,"  Calderon said. "My second period, because I come from the third floor and then the stairs get full of kids and then walking all the way from the 1600 building is far from the third floor."

It's why about 100 students have signed a petition called "Unblock the Walk." Students Friday also said new security changes on campus have made their walk to the next class longer. Students say the administration has blocked off shortcuts in between buildings and made sure each building has a single point of entry. 

"It's a lot because if you don't get in on time, then you can't get into your class,  you get tardies and you get detentions and it's frustrating," Morales said. 

When asked specifically what changes can be made for students at the sprawled-out Apopka High School, campus school officials they are looking into it. 

"The district is aware of the concern and is looking into it," Arias added. 

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