Should School Start at a Later Time?

by Julia Acquavita, 2018 (posted 3-6-17)

“This research indicates that school bells that ring as early as 7:00 a.m. in many parts of the country stand in stark contrast with adolescents' sleep patterns and needs,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Throughout the past few years, much controversy and conversation has surrounded the issue of what time school should start, especially at Cheshire High School. Whether you are a student, teacher, administrator, or involved in any way here, the issue of start time is definitely one you should be informed about. After all, the decisions made on what time school should start does directly affect the students and faculty. Some argue for schools to start later and end later; others argue for schools to start earlier and end earlier; then there are the people who agree with the current school-time system. Whatever your opinion may be on this extremely controversial issue, there is no perfect system for any school; however, Cheshire High School certainly tries their best to accommodate to its student and faculty needs.

At CHS, sports and other extra curricular activities are a major part of many student’s lives. No matter what after school commitments one may have, most students have to juggle school with these activities. As a student-athlete, I understand the valuable homework, studying, and relaxation time before and after any practice or sports event.

Sometimes my sports events last close to three hours, especially if it is an away game. For this reason, the time before and after my games and practice are some of the only times I can complete my school work; the same goes for several other students involved in extracurricular activities. If school were to start later, around 8:30 am versus 7:30 am, this would create less time for those involved in extracurricular activities to complete their school work. This could place more stress on these students because their valuable homework time would be reduced, forcing them to stay up later to complete their assignments. As we all know, stress does not mix well with students. Yes, having school start later would allow the people of CHS to sleep in that extra 30 minutes or so; however, with the current schedule, students have an adequate amount of time to participate in their extracurricular activity and finish their school work.

Moreover, there is evidence that starkly contrasts with schools starting as early as 7:00 am. According to the National Sleep Foundation, research tells us that later sleep and wake patterns among adolescents are biologically determined. It is the natural tendency for teenagers to stay up late at night and wake up later in the morning. This research indicates that school bells that ring as early as 7:00 a.m. in many parts of the country stand in stark contrast with adolescents' sleep patterns and needs. This could serve as a reason to implement later school times in attempt to align with the bodily needs of teenagers at CHS and various other high schools around the country. Additionally, a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that, “sixty percent of children under the age of 18 complained of being tired during the day, according to their parents, and 15% said they fell asleep at school during the year.” What is the point of going to school if you are just going to fall asleep in class and be too tired to absorb any information from your classes? By analyzing this data, school systems would have enough reasons to start school at later time; however, we cannot forget about extracurricular activities and the toll they take on students’ work loads. What is your opinion on this controversial issue? For more information on this subject, check out the National Sleep Foundation website: