Falmouth Task Force Investigating Changes to School Start Times

Falmouth High SchoolFALMOUTH – Falmouth Public Schools are again looking into the pros and cons of changing school start times.

A School Start Times Task Force presented its plan for examining possible changes during a school committee meeting last month.

“Our purpose is to gain a full understanding of the districts and the greater communities desire to alter school start times,” said Alan Jacobs, the head of the task force and school committee chairman. “This is not just a school issue. If we do this, if we make changes, it is going to impact the entire community.”

Several studies show that adolescent sleep/wake cycles dramatically change as their bodies mature, according to Jacobs.

“As a result of those changes middle and high school students often stay up too late and they have difficulty waking up the next morning,” Jacobs said.

Currently the high school starts its day at 7:22 a.m. and the Lawrence school begins at 8:15 a.m.

Jacobs said the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends start times for high school and middle school students to be no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Studies have also suggested that when school start times for middle and high schools are later in the morning, students continue to go to bed around the same time.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that schools that have a start time of 8:30 a.m. or later allow adolescent students to get the recommended amount of sleep, which is 8.5 to 9 hours.

The task force will conduct surveys of high school and middle school students, staff and families.

Recommendations for start times will be presented to the school committee in the spring.

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