A later start time for school will mean negative effects for all

Emily Motta, Staff Writer

A bill passed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 13, 2019, forbade schools to start later than 8:30 AM. This will have to take place before July 1, 2020.  Teenagers’ circadian rhythm; or natural sleep schedule, starts around 11 PM and ends around 8 AM, making this a problem for schools starting before 7 AM. The bill may seem to work, but it will accomplish nothing.

According to an OPRF survey, 72.3% of students participate in extracurriculars. Pushing out the start times of schools means that you are pushing out the time that these activities take place. Extracurriculars already take up several hours after school.

Moving the end time for students’ extracurriculars would make students get home even later in the evening, possibly around 7-10 PM, making it more difficult for students to do schoolwork. 

Transportation is another issue. Although San Jose Unified controls the bus schedule, SJUSD elementary and middle schools start in the 8:00 AM and 9:15 AM range, possibly making bus schedules tight. 

The school bus is not the only way students get to school; parents are a key factor in transportation. The problem is that the popular start of work in the Bay Area is between 7:45 AM and 7:59 AM. Are students going to be dropped off hours early? If that happens, the purpose of the change is meaningless.

Public transportation is another way to get to school for many Gunderson students and might serve as a solution to parents not being able to drive their kids. However, the stations are not located everywhere and one might not have easy access to one.

Another factor is excessive homework. Students are given approximately 3.5 hours of homework every night. Large amounts of homework plus extracurriculars and getting home late equals long, sleepless nights for teens.

With more sleep, teens should be less tired and be able to focus more. But this is not considering extracurriculars and homework. Instead, schools should reduce the amount of homework students are given so they can go to bed at a reasonable time. Another possibility is regulating screen time. But even these solutions won’t do much. Teens also need time for themselves to relax. The quickest option is usually not the best, and the bill passed is far from any good solution.