With a return to in-person school on the horizon, Tigard-Tualatin school district has shifted the start times of all K-12 schools in order to make high schools start later
For years the morning hallways of both Tualatin and Tigard High School have been filled with groggily stumbling students, bemoaning not only the 8:05 start time to classes, but their accompanying lack of sleep.
In lieu of the previous bell schedule, consisting of an 8:05 a.m. start time each morning, with a 3:05 p.m. end time, is an almost hour later start with an 8:55 a.m. start time and 3:45 p.m. final bell. This change, along with other accompanying changes to the elementary and middle school levels, now place the high schools as the latest starting K-12 schools in the district, with Elementary schools beginning at 8:00 and middle schools beginning at 8:30. High schools will also now possess the latest ending time among the K-12 level schools.
In an email released to the students of the Tigard Tualatin School District (TTSD) the district listed several reasons for the switch, which mainly related to allowing students to arrive at school closer to start times, such as eliminating the up to hour early drop off time for high school students, and the hour wait time after school for middle schoolers.
Although, the benefits may be greater than altering wait times before schools. For years articles have been published challenging the early start times for high schools within the United States, stating they greatly contributed to the prevalence of lack of sleep among teenagers, and stating that with this lack of sleep comes a myriad of other issues in the name of health.
“A substantial body of research has now demonstrated that delaying school start times is an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide range of potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement” the American Academy of Pediatrics stated in an article published on their website. (pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/3/642).
While undoubtedly many students are delighted at the idea of a start time more accommodating to a manageable sleep schedule, the change is not nearly as welcomed by some students. Athletes for instance may experience differing practice times, which can make balancing academics, family, or social life and work that much more difficult.
“It is a huge inconvenience for me. My practice times have shifted my day around to where I cannot have a job and have less time to sleep. I also have to eat dinner at an unusual time to fit all of my after-school activities” Tualatin High School Junior Ethan Marreel stated in an interview.
Only tell will tell whether the change ultimately becomes viewed as a saving grace to sleep-deprived students, or a massive roadblock in a balanced schedule.