Local school district considers later start time to give teens more time to sleep

Posted at 1:54 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 23:13:13-05

The superintendent of the Gowanda Central School District wants his students to get more sleep. That's why Dr. Robert Anderson will make a case before the school board tonight to push back the start time for both the middle school and high school.

The district says tonight's presentation is intended to only start the discussion on this topic. If it were to go forward, it wouldn't take effect until 2021 at the earliest. Contractual issues with unionized employees and adjustments to after-school program schedules would have to be worked out first, Anderson said. 

Right now, the middle school day starts at 7:15 a.m. and high school students begin their dat at 7:32 a.m. 

The superintendent's plan suggests starting middle and high school students at 8:15 or 8:30 a.m.

According to research Anderson will present to the board, teenagers need approximately nine hours of sleep each night, yet typically get closer to seven. A later start time would help with chronic sleep deprivation, Anderson said.

"Sleep deprived teens are unable to maximize the learning opportunities afforded by the education system, since sleep deprivation impairs their ability to pay attention, solve problems, cope with stress, and retain information," according to the National Sleep Foundation, which is cited in the superintendent's research.