Gov. Newsom signs bill to start school later in 2022

Grace Gremel, Staff Writer

On October 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill requiring high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

Teachers hope the new legislation will lead to more flexible scheduling options for students.

“I think the zero period would be a good middle ground,” history teacher Johnathon Clemons said.  “People who want to take the earlier or later start time can, but they are not forced to.”

Research shows numerous benefits stemming from later start times.  According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, 87 percent of high schoolers get less sleep than the recommended eight to nine hours per night.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that having school start at 8:30 a.m. would better align with students’ biological sleep rhythms.  The AAP also claims that students who get more sleep have a reduced risk of suffering from depression, being overweight or being in car accidents, and they also typically have better grades, score better on standardized testing and have a better overall quality of life.

Some teachers, however, wonder if later start times will make much of a difference.

“I look at the world the way we’ve progressed already,” math Dave Goodwin said.  “Would the amount of progress [humanity] has made [over time] have changed if we woke up later?”

Many students wonder how the 8:30 a.m. start time will help them since the later start would simply move all school hours and extracurricular activities forward an hour, thus defeating the benefits of the later start times.

“School would end later too, but later start times just sounds more comforting [in a way],” sophomore Autumn Kong said.

California is one of the first states to pass a law that mandates later start times for schools.  Only time will tell how students adjust to later start times.