Unsigned Editorial: Late-Start Time Detrimental to Student Life


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   During the 2018-2019 school year, instead of early-out Wednesdays, UC High will be trying out late-start Wednesdays. The school day will last from 8:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. for students, while staff will begin at the normal time. The intention behind this change is good, however, we, the editors of The Commander, believe that this change in schedule is detrimental to student life.

   By changing the bell schedule only one day out of the week, the shift intended to help students get more sleep actually causes more harm than good. According to Vice Principal Michael Paredes, recently, school stakeholders have been in discussion about the benefits of starting school later. One of the main driving factors behind this movement (not just here at UC High or within the school district, but at schools everywhere) is the scientific research which points to the health benefits of sleeping in later for teenagers.

   While there wasn’t enough support to make the change for every school day, the decision to shift early-out days to late-start days was done in an effort to “trial run” a later start without impacting the release time/end-of-day. However, according to the Sleep Foundation, teens should have a consistent sleeping schedule, or else their circadian rhythm is thrown off (sleepfoundation.org). Having one day to sleep in is not going solve students’ lack of sleep. In fact, it could cause even more sleep problems. While the intention of the late start is good, ultimately, it will only cause more issues.

   Additionally, getting out later on Wednesday (or any other day) greatly affects any students who are involved in after-school activities. Paredes mentioned, “I understand the concern about getting out later having previously worked at a school (Kearny) that has a late start. However, the changes for next year will not have an impact on practice start times or other after-school activities. The Wednesday late start release time will be 2:20 pm instead of 2:18 pm.” However, for most students, the early out day is an opportunity to catch up on work, get in some extra studying, take a nap, go out with friends, and just relax.

   According to an educational resource website, getting out early often works better for both students and parents. Students have more time for after-school jobs and activities, including tutoring (classroom.synonym.com). For athletes or any student involved in an after-school activity, instead of having an afternoon off, it’ll just be another long day. Also, many students are dropped off by parents in the morning, and the late start may interfere with parent schedules.

   For the 2018-2019 school year, the official school start begins at 8:50 a.m. on Wednesdays, with buses arriving at 8:30 am. Unfortunately, according to a traffic prediction website that tracks traffic patterns, San Diego rush hour begins around 7:30 a.m. (trafficpredict.com). For students taking the bus, this could potentially be problematic. The purpose of starting later is to get more sleep but for those taking the bus — which is a large part of the student body — they will have to leave close to the same time as they do now in order to make it to school in time. This creates an unfair advantage for students who live in the UC area.

   The intention behind the late start Wednesday is good, and the reasons for it are understandable. However, this “trial run” is only causing students more stress. While it is only one day, the irregular start times could potentially cause students unusual sleeping habits, which would have the opposite effect than what was intended for the late start days. For students who take the bus, this later start time will be essentially pointless because of traffic. Additionally, students lose an afternoon in which they were able to do whatever they wanted or needed to do. Whether it’s studying, working on group projects, or resting before practice, valuable time is lost.


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