School Start Time Required to be Later in California by Fall 2022

 In 2019, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, placed some restrictions on what time schools start at. This bill, known as Senate Bill 328, does not allow middle schools to start before 8 am, and does not allow high schools to start before 8:30 am. Schools have until July 1, 2022 to obey and apply the new schedule. 

  A year prior to Newsom signing the bill, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. He stated that start times should be a local decision. 

  Democratic state senator Anthony J. Portantino wrote the bill stating that it is meant to reduce tardiness and improve attendance. 

 According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “teenagers aged 13-18 should sleep about 8-10 hours per 24 hours.” Considering that students have school for 5 days a week, they are simply not getting enough sleep to sustain themselves. Since students are not getting enough sleep, their brains are not at their full potential or fully functioning ability. 

  More research concludes that academic grades, dropout rates, and depression would also be affected by later start times. All of these factors are related to sleep deprivation in teenagers. 

  The exceptions to this rule are zero period classes. Since zero period classes are optional and not required, these classes may begin before 8 or 8:30 depending on the grade level. Rural districts are also excluded because of bus schedules.

  Although the later start times have their positive effects, it also has its drawbacks.

  The California School Boards Association explained that the bill  “fails to respect parental decisions or consider the needs of local communities.” School days would end at around 3 p.m. in order to meet the legal obligations for how long a school day must be. 

  Parents would have to adjust their schedules in order to be able to take their children to school, and take them home at the end of the day. Adjustable schedules are typically available for white collar jobs, meaning that students and parents in low income areas are going to be negatively affected far more. 

  If people are unable to adjust their schedules, they most likely will need to hire child care sitters. Many people are not able to afford a sitter. 

  Additionally, the schedules for sports would be pushed back. Therefore students would ultimately not be able to get the extra sleep that the later school schedule wanted to provide.

  Furthermore since the amount of homework students receive will not be lowered, students will simply stay up later completing assignments.  

  Many school districts, like Capistrano Unified School District (CAPOUSD), have decided to wait until the deadline to implement this change, and will be making an adjustment to the schedule for the 2022-2023 school year. Currently, schools within CAPOUSD are planning to shift back the schedule by a half hour, so that school will start at 8:30 and end at 3:15.