Eight Major Obstacles to Delaying School Start Times
negatively impacted academically, so working fewer hours may be better for students who don’t rely on the income for substantive needs, which includes the great majority of working teens.
Participation in other activities such as after-school tutorials, religious classes, community service, or clubs may also be jeopardized by a later release time. On the other hand, many students find that if they sleep more, they can finish their homework faster and have ample time to participate in extracurricular activities.
3. Other Students and Programs
As mentioned above, a change in schedule for high school students will usually result in a change for younger students. If elementary students have the earliest start times, they may be waiting for the bus in the dark early mornings, or waiting at home alone after school. Research is lacking on the effect of school start times on younger students, so it is hard to justify their earlier start.
Many communities have been able to find workable solutions for younger children. Local community organizations may be able to provide childcare. Parents can organize a rotating schedule for a “bus stop supervisor” each day for each neighborhood.
A change in transportation can be difficult for certain student populations and programs, such as special education students and career centers. Careful planning and consideration can usually resolve such difficulties.
4. Reduced Time to Access Public Resources
If school ends later, students will have less time to use the library, among many other community resources. However, students do seem to be able to work more efficiently when they are less sleep deprived, and could therefore make better use of the time they do have.
Some worry that a later start time and release time will leave teachers less time with their families. But in practice, teachers rarely find this to be true. Many are able to spend more time with young students in the morning. Some elect to arrive at school at the same time and complete planning before school, meaning their schedules are unchanged. Many teachers also report having extra personal time to exercise.
Teachers can also