Salt Lake City School District considering adjusting start time of high school classes

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SALT LAKE CITY — For many students, staying up late is something one tries to do.

"You try and figure out how you can stay up as late as you can," said McKell Withers, remembering being a high school student.

Now the superintendent of the Salt Lake City School District, Withers and the school district is distributing a survey asking parents, district workers and students about time, in particular, whether or not students are getting enough sleep.

"(The) conversation has come up about whether or not teenagers get enough sleep and how does that affect their performance in school," Withers said.

The school day for high schools in the Salt Lake City School District start at 7:45 a.m. District officials are wondering if it's time to adjust it to a later time.

"You have some pretty good medical evidence that kids obviously benefit from getting enough sleep," Withers said. "The earliest it could happen would be for the next school year, which would be the fall of 2016."

The results, and any possible changes, will be talked about this spring.

If the start time changes for Salt Lake City School District high schools, it could have a ripple effect on middle schools, elementary schools and even sports practices.

"After-school activities, extra-curricular activities, kids that are working part-time and families that are counting on that older child watching a younger child; all of those things shift a little bit," Withers said. "And how do you work through that?"

If a later start time is chosen, will it really make a difference?

"One of the challenges about starting school later is will they really go to bed at the same time that they did before school started later, or will they choose to stay up later because they don't have to go to bed as early?"

Like time, it's now just a matter of waiting.

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Alex Cabrero


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