Mom to Mom: Old Saybrook school district considers pushing back the start of school to keep healthy minds and grades

New London

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) – A local school district is considering pushing back the start of school. It comes after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an 8:30 a.m. start time for teenagers.

Connecticut has some of the earliest school start times in the country and now Old Saybrook is the latest district considering the move. News 8 takes a look at why doctors say this could help keep healthy minds and grades.

Old Saybrook school sent a survey to parents in the district.

“The survey isn’t just gathering opinions. It’s also about learning about the community and how the community operates,” said Jan Perruccio, Old Saybrook Superintendent.

School leaders are looking at pushing back at the start of school, particularly for their teenagers.

“School start times have been across our country too early,” said Monica Ordway, Associate Professor at Yale School of Nursing, Pediatric Sleep Clinic.

Yale Medicine Pediatric Sleep Program’s Monica Ordway says pediatricians recommend the school day starts at 8:30 a.m. for this age group.

“Their body is biologically is not set to go to bed at 9 p.m. It’s more between ten and eleven o’clock,” Ordway said.

She says recent studies show when school districts do this, car accidents and depression rates go down while grades and attendance go up.

“Adolescents are getting less and less sleep over the years and it’s not considered a public health problem,” Ordway said.

“We felt for the mental health and potentially the academic well-being of our students, we thought we should take a look and see if this is something we can support here in our community,” Perruccio said.

She knows a move like this comes with a set of challenges too.

“There are so many logistics involved. Transportation, employers, athletics, family structure, so we know there’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done, but we thought we owed it to our students to look into it and see if this is right for our community,” Perruccio said.

The Old Saybrook Board of Education will be presented with all the information collected next month.

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