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Salt Lake City School District pushing high school start times later

FILE - In this March 18, 2021, file photo, students listen to a presentation in Health class at Windsor Locks High School in Windsor Locks, Conn. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its social distancing guidelines for schools Friday, March 19, saying students can now sit 3 feet apart in classrooms. The new guidelines also remove recommendations for plastic shields or other barriers between desks. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School District’s Board of Education voted Tuesday to push start times back an hour for its high schools starting this fall.

The school day for East, West, and Highland high schools will now be from 8:45 to 3 p.m. 

“This is really good for kids, not only academically but for their social and emotional well-being,” Nate Salazar, Vice President of Salt Lake School’s Board of Education told KSL’s Dave and Dujanovic Show.

Salazar said they didn’t want to extend the school day too late in the day, and it was a juggling act to try and meet everyone’s needs.

“There’s literally about a 30-minute difference [in the afternoons] and we tried to keep it within that time frame so that family schedules are not impacted significantly,” Salazar said.

A spokeswoman for the district says the middle and elementary schools will shift their times too but they’re still finalizing those plans, specifically, they are still figuring out how the bus schedule will work.

A recent BYU study suggested the extra sleep teens got because remote school started later during the pandemic, benefitted their mental health. 

“We would really like to study the impacts of this academically for our students, next year, and not only academically but along with that social-emotional well-being. That is very, very crucial in this discussion with a late start as well,” Salazar said.