Editorial

School Times

By Augustine Magapan

Volume 1 Issue 4

January 20, 2021

School Times

Image provided by ShutterStock

In the year 2020, a new way of teaching has enlightened students and teachers called remote learning. Perhaps because we have done it in the past, but it wasn’t noted until now where it’s starting to not only show a trend, but is relied upon due to the pandemic. There are millions of people across the nation who use remote learning to prevent themselves from getting the coronavirus depending on how severe they think it is. Millions of people have made their own decisions about whether they should send their child to school or stay at home, and we should respect their choice. There are different characteristics for each type of learning they do, but it doesn’t matter as long the student feels safe and can learn. Whether we are on a chair logging on a computer to meet the other side of the classroom or literally inside the classroom, there is a discussion that should be had. Do students have enough school time when they’re fully remote or at school?


Eric Suni, a writer who has over a decade of experience in health communications and worked as a science writer and information specialist for the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service, had an approval of his report by Dr. Alex Dimitriu. He is the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, and is board certified in psychiatry as well as in sleep medicine. According to Suni, there is a function of your body called the circadian rhythm, which helps you work out with everyday functions of your body. For example, your best coordination might occur at five in the afternoon. Maybe you are at your strongest point at noon and gradually decrease strength or energy during the afternoon. These all are parts of your circadian rhythm. However, we will be focusing on the time when you sleep and when you wake up. This will affect how you perform in school. Not being able to get enough sleep is common with adolescents which affects them, and one of the causes is due to early school times.


Adolescents change their circadian rhythms depending on what time they sleep and wake up. When high school times start early, it creates an effect on a student’s learning behavior where they will be a downturn in their mental and physical school performance. In California, they have refined their school times where class starts later, so students can get more sleep. The local districts in the state are already seeing effects from the change and will modify schools over time. High schools will not start earlier than 8:30 a.m.  For example, first period at Huntington Beach Union High School District starts at 8:24 a.m. This will also depend on the parents and staff trying to adjust to the new bell system. Therefore, it’s a fascinating question that revolves around today’s society.


There had been positive outcomes when schools start earlier since there has been better performance and health for teenagers according to the California Medical Assn. and the California State Parent Teacher Association. Kuss Middle School, in Fall River, Massachusetts, was analyzed as a chronically underperforming school in 2004. As time progressed to 2013, they were finally able to reach great improvements involving students when they took part in longer school days or extended learning times. Creating a school time involving a longer day seems to improve student learning. In addition, their school time was 9am -5 pm. Although that the school day is long, they start school later which can connect to the California school district’s findings.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later so students can have more sleep. The CDC has stated that according to 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Study, 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools in the U.S. start before 8:30 a.m. Depending on what state you are in, a lot of public and middle high schools started before 8:30 a.m. From the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, they recommend that teenagers from ages to 13 to 18 years old should sleep 8 to 10 hours on a regular basis. If you do not, you’ll most likely be overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from symptoms of depression, engage in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs, and perform poorly in school. The last part of the previous sentence can help explain some reasons why a school’s schedule can affect a student’s performance. The American Academy of Pediatrics also says that delaying school times can be an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and contains a variety of benefits that revolve around physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement.


Although that there are positive outcomes when students have school starting later, there can be contrasts and obstacles. Every school will function differently. It will depend on how everyone will adjust to it. There are people who will also disagree on having school times later and when school ends. It depends on how much influence students, teachers, and education staff has on the larger population revolving around school and their hours. After reading this article, if you still go to school, did you reflect on what your school is doing right? There are many other resources to find more information about the effects of a later school starting time if you surf through the web or look at the news. This is a fascinating question. It all depends on what you and your school does  your sleeping schedule.