A better time left behind

New proposed bell schedule ineffective to student lifestyle

There have been changes made to the bell schedule every year since we’ve been at HHS, but one thing has remained the same, the 8 a.m. start.

In late November, FUHSD sent an email saying that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation establishing a start time of no earlier than 8:30 a.m. for all high schools in California in fall of 2019. The bill will go into full effect in the 2022-2023 school year, because the schedule of all five high schools in the district will demand considerable modifications.

Ultimately, the new bell schedule will fail to improve students’ sleeping habits and will also cause transportation and other scheduling challenges.

Another unneeded change: A later school start will not help improve student sleep schedules. (Illustration by Ritaja Subrahmanya)

Later start hours will entail more buses on the road later in the day, increasing traffic and travel delays, according to Sleep Foundation. This especially affects students who have to drive themselves to school. Personally, I know this will make driving myself an even larger hassle than it already is. With school starting before traffic hours, I don’t get much traffic, but this change in the schedule would put me on the streets at a busy time.

For the students who cannot drive themselves to school, a later start time may also conflict with the work schedule of whoever takes them to school according to everettsd.org

Students who stay after school for sports, tutoring or club events will just get home later. Getting out later also makes it much harder for students to get involved in extracurricular activities outside of school since many activities happen early in the evening. It may even be more difficult for students to find part-time jobs or to continue working at jobs they need in order to support their families. 

Another large issue is some families rely on older students to look after younger siblings after school. However, if high schools dismiss later than elementary or middle schools, this may be a challenge, according to Sleep Foundation. Starting later will place an obstacle between students and their responsibilities. 

The numerous negative effects this change has are unavoidable. This law was made because of the concerns about the effects of sleep deprivation on adolescents. But this change will not help. While the state may think starting later in the day will allow more sleep for students, it most likely won’t because they will still have the same hours of after school extracurricular activities and homework. Ultimately, students will just stay up later doing work, according to everettsd.org

The 8 a.m. start has been a burden on students for years, but we’ve grown to accept it. Gov. Newsom’s legislation will ultimately fail to protect the health of students. The legislation should be overturned so we can maintain routine and keep the schedules the same.