Serving Our Peers and Community • South High Community School • Worcester, MA

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The Colonel Chronicle

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Letter to the Editor: School Routines

Letter+to+the+Editor%3A+School+Routines

The debate around school start times has been a topic of discussion for some time, taking into account the impact on students who are forced to wake up very early. This issue becomes stronger when we consider the large number of hours that students spend in classrooms.

Many schools have adopted early class start times, sometimes due to factors such as transport schedules, parents’ work commitments and traditional academic structures. However, there is research on disadvantages of morning hours, such as that teenagers may need more rest time. Along with this and other factors, there is a controversy about school schedules that can affect academic performance and health. Some of the other issues are that this single option and schedule format leaves students with limited time for extracurricular activities, family involvement, and leisure. This shows us that there could be some alternative or change.

I believe that a problem at South High is about school hours – the start time and duration of daily classes. The fact of having to wake up very early to go to school and spend approximately six hours in class.

 “School time” (time to go to and leave class) is a matter of impact on students’ health and academic performance. Research like this one carried out by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/features/students-sleep.htm), shows that around 6 out of 10 (57.8%) and 7 out of 10 (72.7%) teenagers do not have enough rest in relation to class times in the early hours of the morning.

The time to wake up often occurs in the early hours of the morning, when many are still asleep. Furthermore, there is the climate issue, which can vary depending on the season and geographic location. In the morning, the weather is often cooler, especially in regions where temperatures can drop considerably overnight. For students who must experience this cold weather when leaving home to catch the school bus or walk to school, the weather can be an additional challenge.

Now, let’s talk about time outside of school. We do not consider time outside of school but time for buses or other forms of transport that also end up being part of it. The time spent traveling to school or traveling to school can consume part of this daily time and combined with the number of hours at school results in around 6 hours and 43 minutes at school, apart from studying at home. Including transportation to and from the school (it may vary depending on some things such as the route, the distance between the student and the school), it could be 20 minutes, giving a total of 40 minutes for example. All of this takes about 7 hours. Things like this end up taking away and triggering possibilities like not seeing or spending time with family during the week. My option is to only see my family on the 2 days of the weekend because from the time I wake up until bedtime for the next day, with the second shift job that my family got, it makes it impossible during the week.

It is said that school start times may be because of school bus and public transport schedules, ensuring arrival at school on time, which is to coincide with parents’ work schedules, so that they can drop their children off at school before they go to work and pick them up afterwards. However, there may be other alternatives to be discussed or the following that will be passed on to find a balance. 

Some solutions that could be useful and discussed are changing the school arrival and departure times. This time to arrive at school could be 8am or 9am. To optimize the long class time and not cause exhaustion to students, reduce class time to around 4 to 5 hours. With this, there is a chance of more effective student performance at school. In addition, online classes could be part of the program, reducing the time spent at school or students could have comfortable break rooms to rest. In my opinion, these are some ideas that would help improve students’ learning.

 

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