School district talks possible new start times

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Students might be waking up earlier, or later, for class for the upcoming school year, according to the School District of Indian River County.

The district’s School Start Time Committee has proposed high school start at 8:30 a.m., middle school at 9:05 a.m. and elementary school at 7:50 a.m. The committee researched school times and discovered that because of biological sleep rhythms, middle and high-school students should start classes at 8:30 a.m. or later.

Currently, high schools in Indian River County start classes at 7:10 a.m., middle-school at 7:50 a.m. and elementary school at 8:45 a.m., school district officials said. Nearly 90 percent of high-school students in the U.S. start school later than 7:30 a.m.

Elementary students’ biological clocks begin earlier, which indicates they should have an 8 a.m. start time, school district officials said. If they wake up later, it can be hard for them to focus at school as the day gets longer.

Research shows allowing adolescents to have more sleep at the appropriate hours results in improvements in health, academic performance, behavior and well-being.

A decision is expected sometime next month, officials said.


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