Recapping the new bell schedule

Nic Gulizia, Sports Section Editor

In past high school years, students have been itching for school to begin at a later time, claiming that sleep deprivation is the main reason. However, after almost one year of starting later at 8:30 am rather than 7:45 am, students now want the opposite schedule. 

The 2021-2022 school year brought about many new changes, one of them being the later school start time of 8:30 am. Lawmakers claimed that starting school later would bring various benefits, including more sleep, increased performance in class, and reduced tardiness. 

While these claims are technically accurate, for the most part, the new bell schedule has brought about more negative effects than initially thought. Student-athletes and those with extracurricular activities are at the most significant disadvantage. 

Getting out of school at 2:35 pm leaves plenty of time for extracurricular activities to be planned throughout the day with little to no interference. While ending school at 3:20 pm is only a 45-minute difference, it pushes back when practices and games can be scheduled, which extends the day even longer.

Student-athletes are also forced to miss significant portions of class on game days in order to get to their game on time for warm-ups. As a result, they fall behind in their classes and may miss essential assignments or tests that they would then have to make up on their own time later.

This wouldn’t be an issue if school started at 7:45 and ended at 2:35. Then, class would end around 20 minutes after athletes leave for their game, not an entire hour afterward.

Although the time of practice may be later in the day, student-athlete performance benefits from teens getting more sleep at night, the problem is that students aren’t getting more sleep than the experts thought they would. 

The Paw Print surveyed Gunderson students on numerous questions, one of them being whether they actually get more sleep with the late start or just going to sleep even later than before.

50% of students reported that they get the same amount of sleep as before. Rather than heading to bed at the same time on the new schedule, students are going to sleep later since their day is pushed back even more from the late release. 

Transportation to and from school will also become a persistent issue if the new bell schedule stays in place for an extended period of time. Particularly students who have parents working early in the morning and cannot take their kids to school themselves.

Those students rely on the school bus or other transportation provided by the school. However, that transportation may not be available that late in the morning. Some school buses do not have those specific routes later in the day, and many schools generally don’t have access to bus service.

That means students would either have to walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to a nearby station, which is much less convenient than having a parent or school bus drop them off directly at school. 

Getting up early in the morning is difficult, but having less time to be productive with your day is a trade-off on both sides.