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California schools will push back start times in an effort to give students more sleep

Posted at 6:53 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 22:34:22-04

The early bird doesn't always get the worm. At least that's what Governor Gavin Newsom believes, as California will become the first state to mandate later school start times.

The new law requires middle schools to start later than 8 a.m. and high school to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

The reasoning is to increase students' performance in the classroom.

"I think, overall, you'll get better cooperation out of teenagers if they have a more adequate amount of sleep,” said Rebecca Gervasi, a local doctor and parent.

School districts in San Luis Obispo County will have to make adjustments to their schedules to comply with the new law.

Richard Mayfield, Director of Learning and Achievement for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, says he understands the logic of moving back start times but sees some consequences in doing so.

"The idea of shifting the day a little late I think logically makes sense. However, our system is set up for parents to go to work early in the morning and for teachers and schools to come to work early in the morning,” Mayfield said.

Some parents aren't happy about the change.

"It's going to really impact us as a family because we have to worry about where our kids are going to be. Both my husband and I have to be at work at 8 a.m., latest 9 a.m. and pick up between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. so that would be really difficult for us,” said Natalia Vicory, Arroyo Grande resident.

A later start time will also mean a later end time for students, which can affect after school sports, activities, and dinner and could result in a later bed time.

"I just changed my schedule right now to dropping off my child at 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and just with that hour change, they've been going to bed about an hour later,” Vicory said.

With people split on the decision, the new law gets an incomplete grade until it's in place.

Some of the schools expected to see big changes locally are the high schools as most in the area start classes around 7:55 or 8 a.m.

The law applies to charter and public schools in California and they have until the 2022-23 school year to make changes.