Should School Times be Pushed Back
Students are unable to fully develop their attention spans when they have to be attentive and alert at 7:30 in the morning. It has been scientifically proven and shown through academic performance according to Anne Wheaton, lead author for the Community Development Corporation
“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,”Wheaton, lead author and epidemiologist in the CDC Division of Population said. “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”
This has been an ongoing argument since September of 2015. Some within the medical field argue otherwise, according to education resource Time Education Supplement [TES].
“Academics from Surrey University and Harvard Medical School … argue that delaying school times would simply cause most teenagers’ internal clocks to drift later, and in a matter of weeks they would find it just as hard to get out of bed”. [TES] said on their website.
Despite the scientific evidence, the school board of Albany Unified continue to argue about transportation. Some students have their own way of transportation, while others take the bus. The schedule of most bus drivers is more suitable to their lifestyle, such as being able to be at home providing for their children or animal.
After school activities also impact the start time for schools. Teenagers are a part of extracurriculars such as sports, music and clubs, which are the fundamentals for having an ideal high school experience. If classes were to start later in the day, then after school activities would end at an inconvenient hour to both athletes, parents and coaches. “After school, when basketball practice ends, I go home tired and exhausted, causing me to not want to do my homework and laze around,” said Veronica Flores ‘21. When later questioned, she explained,” I’d rather have late start to have time to spare to do my homework in the morning. The other thing would be afterschool, you would be able to socialize and have time to study and take tests that you wouldn’t be able to do during the school day.
Staff have expressed their concerns for this idea. “ I do know that the research indicates that most teenager’s biological cycles tend toward going to sleep later at night and waking up later in the morning. If this is indeed true, then it would make sense that the first period of the day would start later in order to accommodate the natural sleep patterns of our students. It is my understanding that Salem-Keizer has considered this option multiple times but has been stalled by the impact it would have on transportation.” said Lara Tiffin, Principal of South Salem High school.
Students’ school life will most likely be affected if the school district decides to start late. The question remains, should school start later? Students can make that decision. How? They can begin by showing interest and advertising the idea around the school district. “I think if we advertise this idea around the school, we could get attention to it, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to post this on everything but if we got some posters put up to get students attention asking them to vote whether or not they’re for or against, it would give us a better perspective on what the student body actually wants.” said Jesus Lopez ‘19.