The Fairfax County School Board voted on Oct. 23 in favor of later start times, a change to be enacted next year. High schools will start at a time to be announced between 8:00 and 8:10 a.m. Students will be dismissed at a time to be announced between 2:45 and 2:55.
Sleep deprivation is a growing concern among teenagers and the new times were designed to fix the problem. However, changing high school start times to 40 minutes later is not a solution as it creates other complications.
With a later release, after-school activities are also pushed back. The decision will negatively affect those students with part-time jobs, athletic commitments, and club obligations.
It causes a domino effect as a hectic daily routine is changed. When extra-curriculars are moved to a later time, homework time is moved as well, which eventually results in less sleep. Even with the start time modifications, student sleep habits will likely remain consistent with the ones from the past.
Under the new plan, there is also an immense cost to accommodate the buses: $4.9 million.
Traffic could raise more issues when both students and faculty make their commute to school every morning. The new start times are right around the heart of rush hour which may result in people being tardy to class.
All those problems are not worth an additional 40 minutes of sleep.