The administration of Loyola High School should consider starting the school day later, as such a change would benefit students and teachers alike. Last year, the American Medical Association introduced a new policy proposal that “encourages middle schools and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.”
But, there are still those that oppose a later start time for schools; SB 328, a Senate proposal that would have outlawed a start time earlier than 8:30 a.m. for California schools, failed to earn a majority vote from the California Assembly as of Sept. 15, 2017. Despite this setback, the Loyola administration should let Cubs sleep in later next school year.
Proponents of a later start time cite multiple studies calling for schools across the country to adjust to teenagers’ rather odd circadian sleep cycles.
Geneviève Gariépy, a post-doctoral student in McGill’s Institute of Health and Social Policy, said, “The problem is that early school start times conflict with the natural circadian clock of teenagers.”
Gariépy added, “As teenagers go through puberty, their circadian clock gets delayed by two to three hours. By the time they reach junior high, falling asleep before 11 p.m. becomes biologically difficult, and waking up before 8 a.m. is a struggle. Adolescents are fighting biology to get to school on time.”
For example, a study conducted by the University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School called for a start time of 8:30 a.m. for 10 year olds, a start time of 10:00 a.m. or later for 16 year olds, and 11:00 a.m. or later for those 18 and above. The study stated that students who began school before the recommended times were at a severe disadvantage to those who started their studies at a later time.
Furthermore, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that students are less sluggish and thus, better drivers in the morning if they got a better night’s sleep the night before.
With an implementation of a later start time akin to our current schedule #7, which commences at 9:18 a.m., classes would theoretically end at 2:50 p.m. While students could possibly encounter more traffic while going to and from school and would be on campus late into the evening because of sports practices that begin later than usual, those tradeoffs are negligible when compared to student health and concentration.
If the Loyola administration chooses to adopt a later bell schedule, students can expect to be more alert, more focused and generally much happier to go to school each day. Hopefully, the administration realizes this fact before many of us become college-bound and will have the option to take classes which start as late as 11:00 a.m.