School Start Times

Meredith Swanson ‘21, Staff Writer

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There has been a lot of debate throughout the nation regarding whether or not high schools should start later in the day. Personally, as a high school student, I think that starting later  is an excellent idea. School would end later, but students would still be able to benefit from the extra hour(s) of sleep. Some who argue against later school start times make the point that students would not get any more sleep, as all activities and homework would also be pushed later into the day. However, multiple studies have shown, including one from the National Sleep Foundation, that teens, biologically, are programmed to fall asleep and wake up later than other age groups. In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation, “…the typical adolescent’s natural time to fall asleep may be 11 pm or later”. This means that even though many teens are able to complete their daily responsibilities at a fairly reasonable hour, they are unable to fall asleep immediately due to their biological clock. Thus, at the early hours most teenagers are forced to wake up at, from a biological standpoint, it is still the middle of the night. Students would be able to fall asleep as soon as they completed their responsibilities and activities for the day. Later school start times would allow teens to sleep in later and get a healthier, more fulfilling amount of sleep, which promotes development, learning, and athletic ability, helping students in the long run. Later school start times have also been shown to reduce teen car accidents, says TIME magazine. Later school start times benefit not only the students, but the community.

So, why have later school start times not come to West Hartford? The issue has been looked at in the past, but the logistics of it were seen as a barrier, and ultimately the decision was made to keep start times the same. As more research has come out and people in West Hartford have become more serious about the issue, our superintendent, Tom Moore, decided to take another look at later start times during the 2017-2018 school year. There will soon be updates on the progress of this study on the West Hartford Public Schools website.  Hopefully, we will have later start times to better our town and the lives of young people.

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