New school start times bring relief to students and staff

Sayee Deshmukh

A district-wide decision made by Superintendent Norm Enfield regarding school start times will come into full force in the 2022-2023 school year. 

Beginning in the upcoming school year, the new school start time will be 8:35 AM, with a dismissal time of 3:22 PM. Mondays, which will continue to be late-start days, will begin at 9:25 AM. Students and teachers that attend a zero period class will be expected to be in class at 7:35 AM.

Many students expressed relief due to a lack of sleep they have suffered from due to the current bell schedule, as many have felt that having to wake up as early as 5:30 AM everyday to be able to make it to a 7:20 first period class on time was affecting their overall performance in and out of class, feeling a sense of fatigue throughout.

“We can all get a lot more time to sleep and feel less tired!” said sophomore Jayla Parulan.

Many students also feel encouraged to take a zero period class as school will start at a later time, meaning that their sleep schedule wouldn’t change, and they would just have to wake up at the same time they are used to getting up at.

“The new start time actually doesn’t affect me in terms of wanting to take a zero period,” said Parulan. “Instead, I feel as if it encouraged me to take one since it would start at the same time as a typical day would start for us now.”

According to the Center of Disease Control, high schoolers on average do not get enough sleep at night. According to a national sample they conducted on high schoolers in the United States, “about 7 out of 10 (72.7%) did not get enough sleep on school nights”.

A lack of sleep can have a multitude of negative side effects, such as drowsiness throughout the day, an inability to focus, depression, and even in the worst cases, high blood pressure and a weak immune system.

High school has always been a challenging time for young adults managing new expectations and a lot of exciting new opportunities,” said computer science teacher Isaac Cabase. “When you add in the explosion of social media platforms and the true horror of a pandemic that has killed nearly 900,000 Americans, lack of sleep is a consequence.”

While it may be a relief to some that school will start later, it can negatively affect those who must participate in after-school activities, such as sports or performing arts. As school will end around 50 minutes later than it typically would, that would mean that some students may have to change their means of getting home, if they are taken home by another person. 

“Many students who take sports or extracurriculars will have to go home later than usual because of practice or rehearsals,” said sophomore Raymond Obana. “Dogs and other animals will also have to adjust to being fed at different times and going out to potty at different times.”

Not only will students be affected by new start times, but teachers and staff on campus also will feel the effects of a new bell schedule. 

While having the ability to get to school very early in order to prepare for the day may sound like a dream for teachers, it is also possible that school ending later would mean that teachers will have to stay in school later than they are used to, and as a result may have to get home later, also affecting their sleep schedules and time that they can spend with their families as well.

I, like most teachers, have adjusted my life to a COVID-19 teaching model that is more ‘get it done’ than ‘I ran out of time’ mentality,” said Cabase. “If there ends up being an issue, I will deal with it then.”

As the new bell schedule has not been set in place yet, it is hard to determine how people’s behavior will change as a result of it. Although it seems that students will likely get more sleep due to school starting later, this will also give students the excuse to go to bed later. For now, it is only possible to predict that while the new bell schedule may take some time to get used to, eventually waking up later will feel natural, and that we can all finally, finally get some much needed sleep.