Dave & Dujanovic: SLC high school students to see later start times (and more sleep)

Apr 8, 2021, 5:20 PM
A student was arrested after bringing a gun and ammunition to East High School....
Roughly 100 students walked out of class at East High on Friday, May 27, 2022. The students say the walkout was in support of more gun control and to honor the victims in the recent school shooting in Texas. (FILE: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(FILE: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  High school students in Salt Lake City: Listen up, you’ve going to get a bit more shut-eye starting in the fall.

Nate Salazar, Salt Lake City District board vice president, joined KSLNewsRadio hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic Thursday to discuss a new policy — recently adopted by the school board — and set to launch beginning next school year.

More ZZZZZZs please

Studies have shown that later starting times in high school reduce sleep deprivation in students. High school students who get inadequate amounts of sleep are more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In high schools where late-start policies have been implemented, students have lower anxiety levels, better emotional stability, better impulse control and increased academic and athletic performance, according to the district.

BYU research shows teens need in-person school but more sleep.

Dave gives it a thumb’s-up

“It’s something I’ve been very passionate about because I have kids in school right now. Especially the junior high and high school kids, they are dragging in the morning. They are so tired, and then they sleep in their classes because they didn’t get enough sees the previous night,” Dave said.

Salazar said the late-start policy for the district was adopted last year, but when the pandemic struck, the policy was suspended. 

The district approved the policy Tuesday night, allowing for later start times for district high school students.

When do students begin school in the morning?

“We’re looking at really an 8:45 [am] start time for our high school students at our four comprehensive high schools: East, Highland, West and then Horizonte will maintain a schedule that they’re pretty consistent on,” he said.

Shifting start times

“So with these decisions I know there’s always a give and take. If you give the kids an hour here, you got to take it from somewhere else or you got to tack on some extra days. How do you make up for that extra hour?” Dave asked. 

“We’re looking at about a 30-minute swing with this new schedule starting next year. . . . One of the unique things coming out of the pandemic is we more or less had this 8:45 – 9 a.m. start time with our all of our schools,” Salazar said.

“I guess I’m a little confused where that extra 30 minutes is coming from,” Dave said. “I know you can kind of razor thin some certain areas, but is that extending the school day for the high school kids?”

“Yeah, it will it will extend a little bit, there’s no doubt about it . . . You know that 30-minute swing was hard to manage, but I think we got it,” Salazar said. 

“When does it go into effect for late start?” Debbie asked.

“We will be starting this fall of next school year. This will be our new start schedule, and we’re really excited for it,” he said.

“Are parents excited for it?” she asked.

“Almost 90% of our of our parents’ community are supportive if we weren’t disrupting the afternoon schedules that they maintain as a family,” he said. “I think we were able to do that.”

“I can tell you, on behalf of the Noriega kids. . . . they love your decision,” Dave said. “I think it’s a great decision. I think it’s long, long overdue. I think it’s a very positive step forward. I’m very interested to see what we see as far as attentiveness, what it does to grades, because I can tell you it’s an hour. It’s not a ton of extra time, but every hour matters, especially for those teenagers.”

More details can be found here:  

Salt Lake City School District

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Dave & Dujanovic: SLC high school students to see later start times (and more sleep)