Experts suggest later school start times

CENTRAL OHIO (WCMH) — Tonight, many local youth are heading to bed early in preparation for an early start tomorrow for the first day of school.

But while the first bell rings at 8 a.m., or earlier in some districts, medical experts are recommending later start times, especially for high school students.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., allowing children to get the required 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night.

The Centers for Disease Control is also calling for schools to push their start back to 8:30 a.m. to make sure students get enough sleep.

Debbie Dunlap, a parent who is running for one of the opens seats on the Reynoldsburg City Schools board, said she supports the time change, but said the change could make an impact extra-curricular activities and bus schedules.

“It doesn’t just involve a simple time change,” she said. “It has a domino effect on so many other schools because if transportation because of sports, because of other after school activities.”

Dunlap said she would like to examine changing the start time if elected.

In Hilliard, Lynne Hocutt said she hopes school leaders look into the start times for her children, where students begin the day at 7:40 a.m.

“I think they really do need to look in to it because there are a lot of things that come in to play,” she said. “I don’t think you can just say we’re going to start later.”

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