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Should School Days Start Later in Cheyenne?

Angela Weiss, Getty Images

Not to sound like my parents, but back in my day, school started at 7:45 a.m. Here in Cheyenne, school starts at 8 a.m., but experts say it’s too early, why?

I was reading this article in the Wall Street Journal, that says, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, both high school and middle school students shouldn’t begin their school day any earlier than 8:30 a.m., to help them get more sleep.

Researchers indicate that if the school day starts earlier than 8:30 a.m., it can cause a slew of problems including more car accidents, poor grades, even depression among teens.

Researchers also say that a later school time improves physical and mental health, and, in some cases, much improved student performance.  One recent study found a 70% drop in car accidents in students who had an 80 minute delay in start time at a high school.

Judith Owens, who’s the director of sleep medicine and author of guidelines at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. states “Biological changes associated with puberty result in a shift in circadian rhythms, causing adolescents to get tired later at night.  The changes can start in middle school and can shift a child’s bedtime by as much as two hours…teenagers’ tendency to study late at night and to use electronics close to bedtime, when blue-light exposure can further delay in sleep.”

She also went on to state that “Circadian rhythms dictate that most teenagers can’t fall asleep much before 11 p.m., and if they need 81/2 to 91/2 hours of sleep-do the math.  They’re best suited to wake up around 8 a.m.”

Here’s my thought, if kids start to school later, what are they going to do after they get out of school when they have to go out into the workforce and get a job?  Many jobs start no later than 8 a.m.  Would their later start on a normal school day result in problems later on in life?  Many college classes start before 8 a.m., would getting them used to a pattern of starting school at 8:30 a. m. result in problems in their college years?

What do you think, should the kids in both Laramie County School District 1 and LCSD 2 follow these guidelines and start the school day at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.?




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