Should the School Day Start Earlier?



Nonnewaug junior Danni Syrotiak is one of the students who likes the 7:25 a.m. start rather than the idea of starting later in the morning.

Neal Waites, Reporter

WOODBURY — Picture this: You wake up before the crack of dawn, darkness still flooding your room. Your eyes are incredibly dreary, and you’re so sleepy you can hardly bear the thought of lifting your body out of bed.

For some students here at Nonnewaug, however, this is a reality. “Be in class by 7:25 a.m.” Seems reasonable, right? And for many here, it is.

I’d rather wake up early than go to school later. If school ends too late, it feels that too much of the day is gone,” said Amelia Pillis, a junior.

It is true that many would prefer school starting times to be early so that they can have more free time in the afternoon for extracurricular activities, relaxing, and hanging out with friends.

For others, though, they might need the school times to start early.

“I think 7:25 is a good time to start because it gets us up early and allows us to adjust to what having a job and needing to be on time is like,” said Danni Syrotiak, a junior.

However, some students believe that it is too early, and negatively impacts their life.

“Honestly, I feel like it negatively impacts my life as well as others because I, as well as other young adults, absolutely do not get enough sleep,” said Lily Mills, a senior. “Personally, I would say that starting school at a later time period would be more beneficial because I and other students would be able to have a more restful sleep, and feel more motivated to go to school when we’re not as tired as we are when we have to wake up to make it to school at 7:25.”

Sleep issues among teens are at an all-time high, and it most certainly isn’t a new topic. Sleep deprivation can heavily affect a student’s ability to perform.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need an average of eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, but polls show that teens sleeping less than eight hours a night rose by 24% from 2006 to 2013, with a shocking 45% of adolescents now reporting getting less than eight hours of sleep per night.

“The problem may be getting worse,” said an article written by the National Sleep Foundation. “Data from four national surveys conducted from 2007-2013 found that nearly 69% of high school students got seven or fewer hours of sleep per night. … Sleep benefits the brain and promotes attention, memory, and analytical thought. It makes thinking sharper, recognizing the most important information to consolidate learning. Sleep also facilitates expansive thinking that can spur creativity. Whether it’s studying for a test, learning an instrument, or acquiring job skills, sleep is essential for teens.”

Furthermore, many students live almost an hour away, if not more, from Nonnewaug.

“I am out of district, [so] I have to wake up about 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus at 5:45,” said Makenna Santerre, a junior from Oxford. “Added onto all the homework our teachers give us, I get little to no sleep on the weekdays.”

This means that not only would they have to drive to school, but also back from school. This can be a bit of an issue as some students and teachers may have other commitments or obligations they need to handle after school.

There is also the fact that the starting times affect parents who pick up their children; many of these parents have jobs and other responsibilities, and for them, the starting time for school could very well mean the difference between completing those responsibilities or not.

No matter your opinion on the matter, we can all agree that the starting times are a very important topic for many, and should be handled with a grain of salt. No matter the time that school starts, someone is going to be affected by it.