Falmouth Task Force Holds Off on Changing School Start Times

Alan Jacobs

FALMOUTH – The Falmouth School Start Time Task Force concluded at last month’s meeting that they could recommend no change in school start times, despite concerns which find more sleep benefits adolescent brains.

Member Alan Jacobs said that the board unanimously felt that the concerns raised by the community associated with alternative scenarios didn’t justify expected benefits.

This does not mean, however, that the committee aims to stop researching the issue. The denial of any current change in start time was only one recommendation made at the meeting.

The other had to do with continued research regarding the issue of adolescent exhaustion and its relationship to external factors.

The task force recommends that another task force, focused broadly on student health, be formed.

Jacobs cited issues such as sleep, excessive homework, cellphone screens, media consumption, drugs and alcohol as those of primary concern in this research.

Meanwhile, task force member Joel Smith said particular attention needs to be paid to the relationship between students’ sleep and drug use.

“Every school that has gone to a later start time has seen a fall in drug addiction rates, while every school that moved their times to earlier times saw an increase in drug abuse,” Smith said.

Smith, a father of three, said the start time task force will pursue this question going forward.

The Falmouth School Committee is set to vote on the recommendation at their next meeting.

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