School Start Times are Too Early


Students waiting at the bus stop early in the morning. Picture by Nicolai Schreck.

AAHS students have again had to get familiar with school start times and bus arrival times.

School start times are always a hot topic among students regardless of grade, whether it be elementary, middle, or high school. However, in my opinion, school start times should be moved forward. School start times are currently 07:45-14:45 every day, with 45 minutes for lunch. 

However, studies have shown that with bus arrival times consistently dropping below 07:00, students are forced to wake up much earlier as opposed to even the normal school start times, which can hamper their morale, sleep schedule, and class engagement. When it is time for me to go to the bus stop, it is dark outside, and many students experience the same ordeal. Granted, daylight savings time will lighten up the environment around those bus stops, but they are still below the 07:00 hour. 

The bus picks me up at 07:00, so I must leave my house before the clock strikes seven, mostly when it is dark, only to get to school 20-25 minutes early of the actual start time. The bus is a useful benefit to many students families, but the pick-up time is too early and students miss out on valuable sleep. Here are some students’ and teachers’ thoughts on if school should start earlier.

“I think they should reverse the preschool and high school start times because little kids wake up earlier than bigger kids,” sophomore Nick Saxerud said.

He has had his own issues with the bus pick-up times as well.

“I run to the bus stop every day and the bus driver has to wait every time,” Saxerud continued.

Freshman Lucas Fassman also believes that the school or bus times should be changed.

“I think the start times should be changed, and just moving it could make communities happy and students could get more sleep and will be much healthier throughout the year,” freshman Lucas Fassman said.

Start times can be a double-edged sword, however, due to the conflicts that may arise with extracurricular activities.

“There are a lot of things to take into consideration, as there is a possibility that students get more sleep, as teenagers sleep later, though if the start times are moved forward, end times are also moved forward, and it makes it rather difficult for extracurricular activities like clubs and sports to operate while it is light outside,” German teacher Jillian Lykens expanded.

A collection of studies done by the CDC concluded that high schools should start no earlier than 08:30 and starting earlier may deprive adolescents of critical sleep, which a study done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine finds that high school students need 8-10 hours. 

Adolescents become tired later at night and thus wake up late, but high school start times are often earlier than their elementary and middle school counterparts. Younger students need more sleep, as categorized by a National Sleep Foundation study that notes that school children ages 5-10 need 10-11 hours of sleep per night.

School start times are rather early, magnified by the bus arrival times. There is plausible evidence against it, such as the feasibility of clubs and sports and the fact that the schedule does indeed work. However, I think that students could benefit from a later bus time or a later start time, even if they only moved 15 minutes.