Time for a Change; Statewide School Start Times


Katrina Amorsolo

A clock showing what time Ridgeview High could start with the new start time.

Raul Padilla, News Editor

Would sleeping in during the school week matter? Studies have shown it may be beneficial. But for years, Ridgeview High School has had its startup time set at 8:20 AM; however, that fact will no longer be true in the near future. This year, California has been the first state in the country to pass a law that will begin to mandate school start times to start at a later time, specifically high schools cannot start before 8:30 AM at the earliest, and middle schools not before 8:00 AM. This has been a change passed on by the current state governor, Gavin Newsom. The change is one that will begin to take effect in the year 2022 and will affect all high and middle schools within the state.
According to a news article by Adam Beam of the Associated Press, this law was considered a, “victory for the ‘start school later movement’ which has been pushing districts to adjust their daily calendars for decades in the name of public health.” It goes on to state that the average start time for middle and high schools was 8:07 AM, as per the latest figures from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 78% of students attending schools starting before 8:30 AM, it will leave a considerable impact on the schedules of affected schools.
Celia Jaffe, president of the California State PTA (Parent Teacher Association) says that the later school start times will positively impact all students involved, promoting the law with the statement, “It’s better for their mental health, it reduces depression and other mental health problems.” However, in contrast, members of the California School Boards Association such as Troy Flint, believe that the law will negatively impact the families of students involved, explaining, “Often working families have strict schedules with less work flexibility and they won’t always be able to accommodate them in a way that’s necessary to make late start times work”
To the average student,  it may seem that the later start time can prove to be beneficial or not affect them at all. However, those involved in more demanding extracurricular activities may find that the altered times have a different side to them. Senior Shawn Gangl, a member of both the school’s band amd football team discussed his views on the matter. On the amount of time he spends in extracurricular activities, he explains, “It’s football for three hours every day and band an hour before school and all day Saturday.” Despite the activities taking up a considerable amount of time, in regards to his own health he explains, “I get plenty of sleep with my current schedule.” Then, once asked about how the startup time may impact his daily school life with these activities, as well as the lives of others, he expresses concern saying, “I don’t think this is a good idea, the same issues will occur but later, and then everyone will complain about not having enough free time after school either.”
In order to gain more insight on the issue on how it will affect Ridgeview, Principal Steve Holmes discussed on how the law would take effect on the school and district. schools starting later came into fruition, he explains, “The legislation passed was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, who believe that the research shows that teenagers have a sort of natural rhythm to stay up late at night, making it hard to wake up early in the morning.” Holmes then begins to describe the situation, “You only have twenty-four hours in a day, starting school later will not change how many hours there are, it’s like daylight savings time.”
As for when Ridgeview will start with this new start time, he explains that is the earliest schools will begin to start is at 8:30 AM, and they will be sharing buses, then the earliest that the school can start will be 9:00 AM, and it won’t be until 4:00 PM or after that it will end. However, he adds, “Unless we are able to double the bus fleet. If you double the bus fleet though, where do the drivers come from?” Bus drivers are hard to come by, they take substantial effort to train, and in addition to the buses themselves, new drivers will cost a lot of money, money that the district may not be able to afford. “It’s a domino effect, it just leads from one negative effect to the other.”