Sometime in the future, the start time of PVMHS might be getting an update. To many students, this is a blessing. Others, however, enjoy the 7:20 start time and hope it doesn’t change. Using the survey that was sent to parents/students and interviews with students, I have dug deeper into this debate so you don’t have to.
A few months ago, a survey was sent to students and their parents from both PVMHS and Higgins Middle School to see their opinions. The Salem News reported that 72% of the 614 students who responded said that a later start time would make their mornings easier. 60% of students also said the main reason to change it is the impact on academics while 56% said it is the impact on social-emotional health. Another half responded with the impact on physical health.
The Salem News also addressed the difference between how many hours of sleep parents expect their kids get and how many hours kids actually get. The comparison is shown below:
In order to find out more, I have interviewed students to hear the general opinion of the people who will be greatly impacted by this change. When asked if a later school start time would impact her, Sofia Valencia, a fellow freshman, said “Yes. It would move my after-school activities to a later time, which would cause me to come home later. So, I would have less time to do homework and stay up later.”
Another freshman, Allen Zammer, explains that an earlier start time trains us for what we’re going to be doing for the rest of our lives: “If the time changes, there is nothing preparing us for the rest of our lives. If you are in college and you are failing a class because you are tired, they won't care; they will just kick you out. The same thing goes for work. They start around the same time we do, so why not start waking up earlier in high school to get a jump on the way we are going to live the rest of our lives.”
To hear another side, I interviewed Nick Cesero, a senior, who says moving it later would create better attendance and more people would come to school. People would be more awake and active allowing them to focus more and understand the subjects.
The following is a list of benefits and drawbacks of a later start time based on the documents that were shared with everyone to read before filling out the survey:
The benefits: -Students would get more sleep and there would be a decrease in students falling asleep during class -Attendance can improve, as well as test and homework scores -Mood, health, and safety can also improve -Outcomes can include a decrease in the use of caffeine, drugs, symptoms of depression, the number of car crashes, and the number of bad decisions made -Increase in graduation rates and GPA
The drawbacks -The time school ends may not coincide with jobs and after-school activities -Timing and costs of transportation need to be rearranged -Students can still end up going to sleep late because of homework and other afternoon activities -Students may have the tendency to stay up late, causing them to get the amount of sleep they would get with an earlier start time
Whether you’re resistant to this change or not, many can admit that students rely on sleep to stay focused in class and be able to learn.