A Closer Look at Later School Start Times

For elementary school students, this change will not affect them very much. Their starting and finishing times are pushed back by just 10-20 minutes (Pre-kindergarten in V.O. and Lynch will start at 8:25 and end at varied times) which may warrant a slight change in morning routine. There are both pros and cons to this change as kids get to leave school ten minutes earlier than usual, but school is lengthened by ten minutes. After school activities won’t be affected by this change, as they usually start sometime after 3:00 P.M. Overall, elementary school students and their parents shouldn’t worry too much about this change. The issue lies with middle and high school students.

Start times for these higher grades will be pushed back by 45 minutes while dismissal will be pushed back 52 minutes. The extra 45 minutes of getting to school will be very helpful as teenagers tend to stay up late more often than not. A chance for more sleep could ease stress and sleep problems involved in the difficult life of teenagers, but these benefits do come with a cost (literally). The Winchester School Committee would have to look for a different bus company that will follow the new time schedule. The new schedule would also require an additional bus which costs around $60,000. Along with the cost, the Winchester School Committee will have to deal with changing athletic schedules and field use. Practice for sports usually start right after school and games usually start somewhere around 4-5 in the evening. With all the different sports in Winchester High School, practice and game times could get very tight with different sports teams using the same field.

Along with Winchester, other towns and cities such as Belmont, Boston, Burlington, Stoneham, Watertown, have committed to changing school start times. Many more towns and cities are considering change, but have not yet committed. There are many pros and cons to this change and only time will tell whether these changes will bring a positive or negative effect.