BOUSD Schools to Start Thirty Minutes Later in ’22-’23


Courtesy of BOHS

Bell schedules will start 30 minutes later starting in the fall. Senate Bill 328 requires high schools to start at a later time for the benefit of students’ mental health.

A new state law, Senate Bill 328, has been instated for the 2022-2023 school year, mandating that California schools start 30 minutes later, and end 30 minutes later, for the benefit of student mental health.

The bill, signed in 2019 by the California Legislature to “research the effects of earlier start times on students,” requires high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and middle school students to start no later than 8 a.m. The state’s main priority when creating the law was to “increase student mental health and physical health, and an increase in academic performance.” The bill will go into effect after July 10.

Zero periods are exempted from the law due to.the courses offered are optional to students and begin before the regular school day. 

The research from the bill concluded that the extra sleep, “gives [students] more clarity in the morning, less brain fog, and they get that extra time to sleep at night,” Shelli Hemerson, BOHS vice principal, said.

Dr. Joshua Porter, BOHS principal, notes the effect a later start time had on the whole district: “There’s a lot of transportation implications, how the hours impact our staff. We’ve had some complications where we had to adjust, and a lot of little nuances,” he said. (“Transportation implications” refers to the new start time Country Hills elementary had to adopt to avoid traffic with parent pickups and drop-offs. Impacted staff include many of the classroom aides with other jobs outside of the district.)

Studies show that the new state law will be beneficial to students. According to the Better Health Channel, teenagers need eight to 10 and any irregular sleep scheduling could lead to chronic sleep deprivation, eventually “impacting their mental wellbeing, increasing their risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.”

Some BOHS students are looking forward to the later start. “I’m relieved that I can get extra sleep in the morning, even if it means ending later,” Kayla Tseng, freshman, said. “I think it would be more reasonable for me to sleep in rather than having to sleep at an early time.”

However, some students like Bella Mercado, freshman, think about after school sports.“Usually, I finish volleyball at school around 4 p.m. and then do my homework straight after, but if school gets pushed back I would probably be doing my work until almost 7 p.m., ” she said. 

Porter said of the law’s future impact on the district, “This is something that we need to give a shot and see what the data looks like. I would be doing a disservice if I made the presumption that this would be wrong or not good,” Porter said.