It’s time to start the school day at 8:45 am

Let’s catch more Z’s (and less zooms). Getting up for an 8 am start time is never easy. Perhaps now is the time to implement the late-start schedule.

It’s 7:30 am on a Monday morning, and I stumble out of bed to brush my teeth, eat breakfast, and get ready for the school day. Despite the fact that I’m not leaving my house, my first class is still bright and early: 8:00 am.

As we head into the second month of remote learning,  the 8:00 a.m -3:00 p.m academic schedule is as tiring as it’s ever been (perhaps even more so due to the nature of remote learning). 

I think that the unique circumstance offers us a new opportunity: it’s time we took the next step in this year’s “late-start” initiative: Let’s start our remote learning day at 8:45 am.  

Now more than ever I can understand why as students we need some sort of structured schedule, but the circumstances have drastically changed… Why shouldn’t the structure of the academic schedule? 

This year, to the delight of students and in the wake of national research, Saint Stephen’s experimented with a late start-schedule (8:45 am start time) on select days, and now that we’ve transitioned to virtual learning, what better time to fully implement the initiative?

There aren’t any bus schedules or after school practices or programs that would need to be rescheduled in order to push back the start time, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to try out an adapted, later-starting daily routine. 

According to the Sleep Foundation, because teenagers naturally fall asleep at around 11:00 pm and need around eight hours of sleep each night, one way to help students get more sleep is by starting school later.

During a normal school year, there are road bumps like extracurricular activities, parents’ work schedules, and transportation logistics. However, since no one is leaving their house, these are no longer problems. Why shouldn’t we as students (and staff) not get a little extra sleep?

A problem that many students are encountering with early online classes at home is that students find themselves tempted to sleep through or inadvertently snoozing past their first period. 

For many students, there’s less incentive to get out of bed at an early hour when there isn’t the physical need to be in attendance in class or see friends before the bell.

This isn’t a valid excuse to miss first period, but the reality is, some students are missing that first class for a variety of reasons.  

Perhaps attendance and attention would improve in those early morning classes if the start time was 8:45, and students woke up later and ate a good breakfast instead of just sitting at their desks half asleep as some reportedly are. 

Should we start online classes at 8:45 am?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Obviously, there are some challenges to starting at 8:30 am or 8:45 am. It would disrupt everyone’s lunch and snack schedule, the day might feel like it goes quicker, and teachers and students are accustomed to the time schedule.  

Additionally, as junior Annie Class noted, some things take more time at home making it harder to get everything done—  “I have to make my lunch instead of buying [it] from the pre-made lunch line, so I have to spend more time preparing it.”

Further, in reality, many people are already getting more sleep than they would get on a normal school day since they no longer have to wake up extra early to get to school on time if they live far away.

But still, studies have shown that teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep each night, so many students would benefit from an extra 30-45 minutes in the morning. If they don’t want to sleep in, they could use the morning to finish assignments or get a head start on the day’s lessons, or spend time with family.

There are not a lot of upsides to this staying at home all the time, losing out on valuable social time, not playing our sports or participating in clubs, and missing the major end-of-the-year events. 

But one upside might be rest.  We can increase student and faculty rest times, making everyone a little more healthy and awake.  Perhaps a late-start can be a silver lining in these stressful times.