New start times for high schools in the Salt Lake City School District

Aug 5, 2021, 1:15 PM
start times high schools...
The principal of East High School is asking the community for help as they deal with a shortage of substitute teachers. (PHOTO: Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)
(PHOTO: Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY– The Salt Lake City school board voted to have new start times for high schools in the Salt Lake City School District. The Board of Education for the district made the change after looking at studies that show the benefits of later start times. 

Decision behind later start times

SLCSD said in a statement on Facebook, “Studies have shown that late start in high school reduces sleep deprivation in students.” In some high schools where later start times have been adopted, students dramatically improved in performance.

Yandary Chatwin, a spokesperson with the SLCSD, said this decision has been in the works for more than a year. “I remember they touched on this subject when I first started working with the district, so it has been a few years,” Chatwin said. 

Research has found later start times are most beneficial to students in high school because they’ve reached puberty. When that happens, their biological clock changes and they tend to fall asleep later than adults according to Horacio de la Iglesia, a University of Washington researcher and professor of biology.

“It’s all about the well-being of students, after the pandemic, a lot of schools were noticing a lack in attendance. When they pushed the start time to be an hour later, they noticed attendance improved dramatically,” Chatwin said. 

Not only about ensuring teens have enough sleep, they are also trying to improve the mental health of their students. “The pandemic really exacerbated the mental health issues that our teenagers are already facing, so anything we can do to support their well-being, we will,” Chatwin said. 

New start times for high schools

East, Highland, Horizante, Innovations, and West high schools now have a new start time of 8:45 a.m. The schools will let out at 3:15 p.m..

These later start times will have an impact on the start times for middle and elementary schools in the SLCSD. 

Parents and students can check the district’s website for a complete list of new start times

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New start times for high schools in the Salt Lake City School District