The 30 extra minutes that will change a student’s life

by Abby Weber, Staff Writer

The movement to push back school has begun in the West, with California leading the way to mandate later start times. Though schools have a window of three years to implement California Senate Bill 328, many have already made the switch— and I think Glen Rock should be next.  

As a senior who is graced with the privilege of sleeping in every four days, I can tell you that the extra hour is tremendous. I feel energized as I wake up, like I can pop right out of bed and start off my day productively. I attribute this to my ability to wake up after the sun has risen— many students often wake before the sun is fully out (the sun rises between 6:44 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. during the school year), which tells their bodies to go back to sleep. Many succumb to this longing, as losing a morning of class seems much more attractive than dragging themselves out of bed. 

Teenager’s behaviors, including sleep, are determined by something called a circadian clock. This internal clock causes teenagers to feel more alert at night, making it very hard to fall asleep before 11 p.m. And, considering teenagers need more than 8 hours of sleep to live a healthy lifestyle, the perfect wake up time would be after 7:00 a.m. 

To administrators this may seem manageable, but how should a student fit in breakfast, a morning routine, and a school commute within the 50 minutes we are allotted between waking and first period? 

The publicity of California Senate Bill 328 is predictable; new data has proven multiple benefits to later start times. Well rested students have higher problem solving skills, can better cope with stress, and have an easier time retaining information. But with every benefit comes another logistic to work out. 

Administrators and lawmakers alike might scratch their heads considering the logistic aspect of a push back. An entire extra hour in the morning would cause an extracurricular gridlock— sports, clubs, and other activities would have to reschedule, which is taxing on both the students, parents, and the teachers that run them. 

This is why the time change can not be drastic—30 minutes would be the maximum push back time to avoid extreme scheduling issues. To accommodate these 30 minutes, time can be taken out of lunch, or the school day could end later. This would make the push back seem less extreme.  

Even so, the 30 minutes would provide valuable time for students to wake up to their internal alarm clock, rather than the one on their phone. 

Though the new mandate will take some work, it is hard to argue with the facts: later start times would benefit every student. A school of motivated, focused, and willing to learn children is only 30 minutes away.