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New D303 start and end times pose a challenge for students, staff

The new start time for high school will be 7:15 a.m.
Jadyn Murvine
The new start time for high school will be 7:15 a.m.

On Jan. 8, District 303 announced new start times for the 2024-2025 school year, with both high schools now starting classes at 7:15 a.m. While starting five minutes earlier does not sound like a large change, those precious minutes can make a big difference in the morning routine of students and staff.

The new schedule puts high school students in school an hour and 15 minutes before the 8:30 a.m. start time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, high schools in D303 already start 48 minutes earlier than the average for Illinois. In fact, only 10% of high schools in the nation start before 7:30 a.m.

The CDC recommends at least eight hours of sleep per night for teenagers. However, a majority of them get far less. Some students have to be ready at 6:30, or even earlier, just to make the bus. If they take 45 minutes to get ready, this means that they have to go to sleep at 9:45 p.m. in order to get those eight hours. This is very difficult for high school students to do while balancing homework, jobs, and extracurricular activities.

“I do think any earlier even than what we have right now is not best for kids,” said Lisa Spyrnal, social studies teacher. According to the American Psychological Association, not getting enough sleep can cause poor mental health and difficulty learning; all characteristics that are important to ensuring students can effectively participate in school.

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The even earlier start times could cause problems not just for students, but many staff members as well. Under the new schedule, teachers must arrive at school by 6:55 a.m.

“I have colleagues that live an hour away,” said Spyrnal. “So while it’s not very traffic-y in the morning; when there’s any inclement weather, those five minutes become exponential.”

Another concern for parents and teachers is daycare for their children. With many daycares opening at 6:45, this leaves just 10 minutes between when high school teachers with young children can drop them off and when they have to be at school.

The new challenges aren’t only limited to the high school level. With most Americans starting work before the 9:05 a.m start time for elementary schools, it creates a challenge for working parents trying to get their children to school.

“There’s like a two-hour window now that’s pretty tricky for them,” said Spyrnal.

The district plans to provide a before and after-school childcare service for this reason; however, it will be fee-for-service.

While it is clear that the district is put in a tough position with scheduling bus routes for all three levels, an earlier start at the high school level could exacerbate the challenges faced by sleep-deprived students and the late elementary start times could put additional stress on parents.

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About the Contributors
James is a staff writer for the Stargazer. He is a freshman and this is his first year on staff.
Tyler Moore, Editor In Chief
Tyler Moore is the editor-in-chief for the Stargazer. He is a senior at North, and this is his third year on the staff. Tyler engages in student journalism because it helps him engage in events at North and talk to new people.
Jadyn Murvine, Opinions Editor
Jadyn Murvine is a staff writer for the Stargazer and this year's Opinions Editor. She is a sophomore, and this is her second year on staff. Jadyn engages in student journalism because she wants to branch out her extracurriculars and get out of her comfort zone to enhance her writing skills and create articles to share with others.

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