Area school districts consider letting HS kids hit snooze

If you had trouble getting your teen up and off to school this morning, you’re not alone. Experts say that teenagers need at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night, but their body clocks don’t let them get to sleep early enough to get sufficient shut-eye before they have to head to class in the morning.

Several area school districts have been looking at the issue for much of this school year, and they’re hosting community meetings before they report back to their superintendents in June. Seattle Public Schools launched a task force last fall, and several community forums are set for this week and early May (the meeting schedule can be found on the district website) to decide whether and how to adjust bell times.

The Bellevue and Mercer Island school districts formed a joint committee last fall to examine the potential later start times, and two community meetings have been held at Bellevue high schools, with another planned for May 7 at Islander Middle School.

Of course, changing when high school students start their day can throw a monkey wrench into the schedules of families with younger children, or parents who have to get to work in the morning. 

You can read more about some of the research on teen sleep needs and school start times, as well as the impacts of making a change, on the Bellevue School District’s website.

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