Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Virginia Beach tables discussion on earlier school start times

VIRGINIA BEACH — The city’s school district is not changing school start times — for now.

At its summer retreat, the school board decided against an immediate plan to adjust start times but says they will revisit the conversation in three to four years.

“In reviewing the medical research, input gathered through stakeholder surveys and projected operational costs associated with making a change, the board elected to defer the conversation about school start times,” a statement from Virginia Beach City Public Schools said. “This will allow the board more time to explore financial needs and other operational considerations.”

Research showing that children aged 13-18 learn better when they start school later in the day began the discussion on changing start times in 2016.

In August 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement recommending that middle and high schools delay their start times to 8:30 a.m. or later.

“Doing so will align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty,” said Dr. Judith Owens, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the lead author, according to a statement from the academy.

Owens said the research shows that if adolescents get the proper amount of sleep, they are less likely to be overweight, depressed or get in a car accident, and they perform better academically.

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