EDUCATION

SLC High Schools To Start An Hour Later This Fall

Apr 9, 2021, 6:38 AM | Updated: 7:05 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Some students will get to sleep in next fall after the Salt Lake City School Board voted unanimously to push high school start times back an hour.

With the change, East, West and Highland high schools will start at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., while middle schools will start at 8 a.m. in the fall.

District officials said changes to elementary school schedules were still being worked on as of Friday.

The board came to this decision after studying the issue for a year and consulting with national sleep expert Dr. Wendy M. Troxel, who highlighted both physical and mental health risks that can occur when teens are tired.

“We’re neither toughening them up nor preparing them for adulthood,” she said. “Rather … we’re putting them at increased risk for reduced productivity, reduced health and potentially reduce longevity.”

Troxel, who holds adjunct faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Utah, said 20% of children have serious mental illness and one hour of sleep lost equals a 38% increase of feeling sad or hopeless — something she said could be addressed by later start times.

This change was also a huge win for parents, who shared their frustrations earlier this year.

“Every single day is sheer hell getting them out of bed,” one parent said during Thursday’s board meeting.

“Children need nine or 10 hours of sleep in adolescence, and there’s no way for them to get that based on a school that I see the bus go by at seven in the morning,” another said.

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SLC High Schools To Start An Hour Later This Fall