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Calif. is first state to mandate school start times, some Colo. school districts already made change

Posted at 8:45 AM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 10:46:37-04

Sleep researchers agree teenagers need at least eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. But in many school districts, high schools start earlier in the day than any other grade.

California became the first state to mandate school start times on Sunday. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, high schools in the state will not be allowed to start any earlier than 8:30 am. Middle schools will start no earlier than 8 am.

Some Colorado school districts have already made this change. High schools in the Cherry Creek School District and Littleton Public Schools start at 8:20 and 8:30 a.m., respectively. Elementary school students have the earliest start times in those districts.

Districts including Douglas County and JeffCo Public Schools have studied changing their start times. High schools in those districts generally start between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have pushed for later bell times in schools. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescence changes the sleep cycle. The onset of melatonin production is delayed, so teenagers are biologically wired to stay up later at night, CDC says.