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Why Starting School Later Should Be Prioritized

Starting the school day later has been a subject of debate among parents, educators, and students for quite some time. Some people believe that schools should continue their regular schedule, while others believe that a later school start time is the way to go. In this article, we will explore the benefits of delaying the school start time and why it’s essential to prioritize this change.

Key Takeaways

  • Starting school later improves the health and academic performance of students.
  • The current early start times conflict with adolescent sleep patterns and make it difficult for them to concentrate and learn.
  • Delaying school start times can reduce tardiness, absenteeism, depression, and anxiety in students, leading to overall academic success.
  • Schools should prioritize the health and well-being of students by adapting to their biological sleep patterns.

The Benefits Of Delaying School Start Times

Many studies have concluded that students’ health and academic performance improve by delaying the start time of their school day. Concerned parents, teachers, and medical professionals have long pointed out the negative effects of sleep deprivation on students, including depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.

Sleep is essential for cognitive development and overall health, and when we don’t get enough of it, we suffer. This is especially true for teenagers, who require 8-10 hours of sleep each night. The current 7-8 AM start time of most high schools and middle schools across the country conflicts with adolescent sleep patterns, making it difficult for them to concentrate and learn.

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Delaying the school start time even by an hour can help overcome these problems. Studies have shown that later school start times can reduce tardiness, absenteeism, and the need for students to come to school early or stay late for extracurricular activities.

Prioritizing The Health And Well-being Of Students

The health of students should always be paramount, but during the pandemic, it has become even more apparent. Schools had to quickly adapt to remote learning, and when they returned to in-person classes, they were faced with new challenges. Implementing new health and safety protocols have resulted in multiple adjustments, including staggering start times to maintain social distancing, which provides an opportunity to reset the school schedule for the long term benefit of students.

Educators and school administrators should prioritize the health and well-being of students by adapting to their biological sleep patterns. Not all students learn or work best at the same time, and schools should consider individual needs and differences when creating schedules that reflect their physical and mental health.

Why Delaying School Start Times Is Essential

Delaying the school start time is essential for the mental and physical well-being of students. Schools should prioritize providing a schedule that caters to the students’ health and well-being, and delay school start times. Adult scheduling convenience should not drive the school start time.

The current system conflicts with the biological sleep patterns of adolescents, leading to poor academic performance and impairing the overall education experience. Therefore, it’s high time for schools to consider delaying school start times and ultimately prioritizing the students’ health and well-being.

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Q. Won’t schools that delay start times conflict with after-school activities?

A. Schools that delay their start times can simply adjust the length of their school day, so it doesn’t overlap with after-school activities.

Q. What are the advantages of a later start time in terms of academic performance?

A. A later start time improves academic performance by reducing tardiness and absenteeism, leading to better focus and concentration, stronger learning, and overall academic success.

Q. Do later start times mean lesser instructional hours?

A. Delaying the start time of the school doesn’t necessarily reduce instructional hours; instead, it allows for more efficient and focused learning during the day.

Q. What challenges might schools face when delaying school start times?

A. Schools may face challenges in adapting their schedules to a later start time due to transportation, after-school activities, and conflicts with other school districts. However, schools can overcome these challenges by adopting alternative transportation methods or by collaborating with other districts.

Q. Isn’t it ultimately up to parents to ensure their children get enough sleep?

A. Although parents play an important role in encouraging healthy sleep habits, many teenagers struggle to maintain regular sleep schedules due to their biological sleep patterns. By delaying school start times, schools can provide students with the opportunity to get adequate sleep, leading to healthier and happier students.

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