Barrington schools consider pushing back start times

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A suburban school district is considering a proposal that would delay the start of the school day so students can sleep in. (WLS)

There was a packed house Tuesday night at the Barrington Community Unit School District 220 Board of Education meeting, where the hot topic was a proposal that would delay the start of the school day so students can sleep in.

"It's a public health issue. We now know students are coming to school sleep deprived which endangers their mental, their physical, social, emotional, their academic well-being. And so we want to do whatever we can to improve their chances," Asst. Supt. Jeff Arnett said.

The Input 220 Advisory Council - made up of parents, school officials and community members - started looking at the issue last May.

The council is proposing pushing back the start time for elementary students from 7 to 8 a.m., for middle school students from 7:55 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., and at the high school students from 7:20 a.m. to 9 or 9:30 a.m.

Parent Maggie Goodwin thinks it would help students get more sleep, but her teens have their concerns.

"They're more interested in how is this going to impact their sports. They are varsity athletes and they want to make sure they get in time for the extracurricular as well," Goodwin said.

Dr. Phyllis Zee says there's no denying that children aren't getting enough shuteye, but she says pushing back the start time is just one part of the equation.

"Getting enough exercise during the day can also improve sleep. Getting more light, bright light during the day," said Dr. Phyllis Zee, of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The proposals would affect instructional time. Students could lose up to 46 minutes in the classroom.

A vote could take place sometime this spring.

Related Topics:
educationeducationschoolchildren's healthBarrington
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