Pushing back school start times may reduce student fatigue
The change had positive feedback from teachers, students and parents.
October 31, 2022 8:26pm
Updated: October 31, 2022 9:41pm
One Massachusetts school district that moved its schools’ start times back about an hour during the pandemic is keeping the change after positive feedback from teachers, parents and students.
“So when we came back in person, we didn’t feel like we could honestly go back to the old start time, right? We got so much feedback about it from students,” Michael Morris, superintendent of the Amherst school district, told NewsNation.
Beginning in fall of 2021, Armherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools pushed back the start time of its middle and high schools from 7:45 a.m. to around 9 a.m. after strong support for later start times during remote learning during COVID-19 lockdowns.
In an informal survey by school officials, 70% of teachers said their high school and middle school students were more alert during the first two periods of the day than was the case with the earlier start time.
Students interviewed by one Amherst high school’s newspaper expressed similar sentiments about their energy levels.
“I get more sleep and wake up later,” one senior told The Graphic. “It feels like I have more energy throughout the day.”
“In the morning it helps to be able to wake up later and get more sleep,” said another student, a junior. “And I enjoy waking up with the sun in the sky.”
Overall, about 64% of students, 55% of staff and 82% of parents surveyed said delaying start times was in the best interest of the school community.
But students with after-school activities, like sports or a part-time job, were more likely to report that later starts negatively impacted their ability to participate in those activities, reports NewsNation.
It is also unclear whether or not being well-rested improved the Massachusetts’ students’ performance in school.