School Students Need More Sleep: 9 hours
begin picking up students at 5:30 a.m. to meet 7:20 start times
nation’s top sleep researchers say: “Changes in sleep
and circadian regulation occurring in adolescence are inconsistent
with optimal learning when morning school start times are too early
(before 8:30 or 9:00).”
Sleep is critical to learning, especially the
last REM sleep (which is cut short by early alarms).
while sleep-deprived is dangerous.
Inadequate sleep is linked with
increased depression, obesity, and diabetes.
School Board’s Transportation Task Force (TTF) recommended that
FCPS change bell schedules and improve system efficiency to enable
later start times for high school students. The TTF Preferred Bell
Schedule (ES/HS/MS) is:
elementary schools would start 7:50-8:55; end 2:30-3:45 (Some
still after 9 am)
schools would start between 8:35 and 8:55; end 3:15-3:45
Middle schools would start between
9:20 and 9:40; end 4-4:30
TTF expects its recommendations to be cost-neutral.
extra buses or drivers.
cost estimates for similar models range from zero to $9.2
schools have switched to later start times with no added costs:
Arlington, VA; Minneapolis & Edina, MN; Wilton, CT; and Brevard,
FL.; Albemarle, VA.
Reengineering will improve efficiency
and save money.
endorses the TTF recommendations, which represent a compromise among
a variety of interests.
that support later start times for teens
majorities of parents, students and teachers, according to surveys
County Council of PTAs
Advisory Committee to the Fairfax School Board
Society of Northern Virginia
of Women Voters of Fairfax County
sleep researchers in “Messages to the Public,” The
Role of Sleep on Memory and Learning Conference, Washington,
D.C., March 2008 (quoted above)
healthy start times and sign our petition at