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Would UC High Students Benefit From a Later Start Time?: Counterpoint

Elaina Martin, Opinions Editor

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   Due to an extensive amount of medical research, it is being debated whether or not a later school start time is beneficial to students and schools. Small test-runs of the policy have been done at other schools, and positive effects are being viewed in regards to student performance. But, due to traffic, sports schedules, and overall homework load,  a later start time would be unrealistic. For a school such as UC High, a staggered period schedule would work far better than a start time pushback.

   It is undeniable that San Diego traffic is horrific. As is, traffic at the 6 to 7 a.m. time range, that most students are traveling to school in, is bad; but a later start time would put travelling students in the middle of San Diego morning rush hour, which according to a travel advising website, is around 7 to 10 a.m. (tripsavvy.com). Spanish Teacher Monty Hutchinson said, “I believe that this would work in a smaller community, but traffic in [central] San Diego is just atrocious.”

   Because of the morning traffic, students who ride the bus and teachers and students who drive to school from other communities, will have to get up at the same time they would now in order to make up for the increase in travel time. AP Government and Politics Teacher Michele Fournier said, Students who ride the bus to school will not get the benefit of getting up an hour later. The traffic on the 805 will be worse as the day goes on and they will be on the road for a longer period of time in the morning. They will also be stuck in traffic for longer periods of time on the way home, thus negating any benefit of having a late start.”  While students and teachers who live close to campus will benefit from the early start time, the quite large population of those who do not will see no benefit. In fact, they will have less sleep time as they will get home later.

   A later start time will push all periods back to a later time, meaning that students who play sports will have to miss even more valuable class time in order to get to competitions. Kids who are missing one period now in order to get to sports events might end up missing two or more classes if the school schedule is shifted. “The studies show that it [a later start time] is good for kids, but they need to address other concerns, like more kids leaving class,” said Yearbook Teacher Elizabeth Frohoff. After-school activities need to be considered.

   As of now, sports teams aren’t allowed to practice before the end of sixth period P.E. Because of this, sports teams would have to start even later and end later. Sophomore Alexis Engebretson explained, “Sports are affected. There are no lights on the upper field.” This is another problem — not only will kids be missing class time to attend competitions, but they will be forced to practice in the dark.

   On top of all this, would students even use the extra hour to sleep? “No matter when we start school, there are 24 hours in a day. Students are not going to sleep an extra hour because school starts later. If anything, getting home later will mean they stay up later to finish homework. Students who are staying up until midnight now, will stay up until 1 am. The time won’t be used to sleep,” said Fournier. It may sound cynical, but teenagers do what they want to do, not necessarily what is best for them

   The benefits of a later start time are undeniable, but unrealistic for a school like UC High. A later start time poses obstacles to student, teacher and parent schedules, extracurricular activities, and travel time. It would be best to leave the time schedule alone, as it seems to work well enough, considering that UC High has some of the highest test scores in the district.

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Would UC High Students Benefit From a Later Start Time?: Counterpoint