California Becomes First State to Move Back School Start Times (Published 2022) – The New York Times

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The state is rolling out a first-of-its kind law that delays when middle and high school classes begin.

Go ahead and hit that snooze button one more time.
High school and middle school classes in California will start later than ever when the school year begins this fall. That means that students (and the parents who schlep them to school) can look forward to a little extra sleep.
In 2019, California legislators passed a first-of-its-kind law requiring that public high schools begin classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and that middle schools start no earlier than 8 a.m. The law officially went into effect on July 1.
Teenagers not only need as much as 10 hours of sleep each day, but shifts in their biological rhythms also make them become sleepy later. “Asking a teenager to be awake and trying to absorb information at 8:30 in the morning in some ways is like asking an adult to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning,” Matthew Walker, a University of California, Berkeley, neuroscience professor, told NPR.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the average public high school start time was 8 a.m. nationwide and 8:04 a.m. in California. In some pockets of the Golden State, the switch to virtual learning resulted in classes beginning later, but now those delayed start times are becoming mandatory and widespread. (There are some exceptions: The new law doesn’t apply to rural communities or optional class periods called “zero periods,” which start before the regular school sessions.)
Experts say that chronic sleep deprivation among teenagers has been linked to worse academic performance and mental and physical health problems as well as substance abuse and drowsy driving. Because of the litany of public health risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for school to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., as even 60 extra minutes of sleep per night can have major benefits in staving off long-term health issues.
“The effects of that one hour is something they will be feeling as 40-year-old adults,” Dr. Sumit Bhargava, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, told The New York Times. “When you give them the gift of increased sleep time, it is the biggest bang for the buck that you can think about.”
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