Each morning, many students wake up and dread going to school so early in the morning. School start time, until the 2017-2018 school year, was 7:15 a.m., but on Fridays, HBHS has a PLC schedule, and school doesn’t start until 8 a.m. But is this start time late enough?
Many researchers believe that schools shouldn’t start until at least 8 a.m, given that waking up early for school can mess with circadian rhythms. Teens are supposed to get 9-10 hours of sleep per night, but due to various extracurriculars and homework, many don’t get to bed until well after midnight, leaving them sleep-deprived.
So how would changing the start time to 8:00am affect HBHS?
Problems with scheduling busses and athletic events could occur, as both of them occur on very tight schedules, and if they are messed with, it may be hard to work around the changes.
“Starting school later would affect those working and athletic events,” said Trevor Duval, Civics and government teacher. “If an athletic event that starts at four gets pushed to five, now these athletes are getting home later, which makes them do their homework later, and it [causes them] to go to sleep later, thus negating the later start time. It is possible to shift [bus schedules], but it’s not practical,” said Duval, “It could mess with parents’ work schedules.”
On the more positive side of things, a later starting time for the high school would allow students to catch up on their well-needed rest. For those who still have to come in early, if their parents can’t get them to school at a later time, a possible solution is to set aside some relaxing activities, such as arts and crafts or free gym time, to do from 7:40 a.m. until academic classes start at 8 a.m. Offering an activity for students would be a great day to start the academic day, if the start time still stays at 7:40 a.m. Research shows that teenage brains don’t function until the late morning and this would be a beneficial time for students to wake up. Even if the start time is not changed, students wouldn’t be pressured to complete academic work until classes start at 8 a.m.
One drawback to this issue would be that the high school may have to shorten class periods, or even take out 6th and 7th period. Pushing back the school start time will cause teachers to lose valuable instruction time and many of their lesson plans or activities would have to be changed or dropped altogether.
“We could shorten the amount of time we have in classes,” said Lauren DiGennaro, Assistant Principal at HBHS. She believes that we could shorten class periods, but that wouldn’t be the ideal solution in the long run. “Classes could miss out on valuable instruction time.”
Even due to the many possible drawbacks in starting school later, it would be a beneficial change for students, so that they can catch up on any missed sleep from the previous night. Not many kids enjoy getting up at an early hour to go to school, and if the start time was changed, maybe more kids would be willing to go.
“It will be beneficial for students to go to school later,” said Alyssa Ulman ‘23. “They could catch up on sleep.” The lack of sleep is what causes kids to be unable to focus well on during the day, as many fall asleep during classes, instead of at night, when they are supposed to. Changing the school start time would minimize this problem, helping many more kids succeed and have a better day at school.
A later start time to our day would be very beneficial here at HBHS, as many students complain that they don’t enjoy an early start time, because of the lack of sleep that they get every night, which makes it difficult for them to learn well throughout the day. If HBHS started later, everyone would be more focused in their classes and they would have better days than if we kept the start time at the early time of 7:40 a.m.