Opinion: No to Start Times

Caitlin Newton

Imagine this: The clock reads 11:58 p.m. You sigh at the giant pile binders sitting on your desk. Even though it’s already almost midnight, you have yet to finish your homework. You calculate that you can sleep for six and a half hours if you finish your homework by 1 a.m, which would give you time to wake up, eat breakfast, and arrive at your first class on time (8 a.m.).

This struggle to complete work (and get a decent night’s sleep) is daily for Wayland High School students. Superintendent of Wayland Public Schools, Dr. Arthur Unobskey, has proposed implementing later school start times for the elementary, middle and high schools. The process would occur in two different phases, the first pushing WHS start times back by 20 minutes next year, and the second by a half hour for the 2019-2010 school year. By the end of the second phase, WHS would start at 8 a.m. and be dismissed at 2:45 p.m. daily, except on Wednesdays.

The majority of WHS students participate in sports, myself included. For those who participate, sports are an extremely important part of a student’s high school career. I have formed really close bonds with my teammates, and it’s fun to represent our school every time we take the field or court.

WHS is known not only for its strong academics, but also for its great athletic programs. When I have an away game, the bus is supposed to leave at 2:30 p.m. to ensure we arrive with enough time for warm-ups. With the current 2:15 ending time for school, we are already very tight on time. Since most of the other teams in the Dual County League potentially won’t have the same school end times as Wayland, student-athletes will be late for our games unless if they are dismissed from school early.

On occasion, when there is a playoff game or a meet at a weird time, students are dismissed from school early. With the school day being shifted to a later time, students will be forced to miss even more of their academics on days when they have a regular season game.

At WHS, most team sports have enough participants to have varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams. Due to the limited field and court space, scheduling practices is already difficult. With the proposed later start times, this scheduling process will be even more complicated. Furthermore, WHS teams aren’t the only groups that use the fields at the high school. Sharing the field limits practice length because all teams need to share the facilities in a smaller amount of time.

The METCO program would also be negatively impacted. Boston students have to wake up around 5:30 a.m. in order arrive at their bus stop on time. Since there is more traffic later in the morning, the Boston bus would find itself stuck in more traffic, making for a more frustrating and untimely morning commute.

A later start time would affect not only the morning commute for our Boston residents — their evening commute would take much longer as well. The time they spend traveling to and from school is already a large amount of time in their day. By pushing back start and end times, their commute will only get longer, which means their amount of time to do homework, play a sport or do any other extracurricular decreases.

Although Unobskey claims the change will allow students to reach their maximum time of sleep necessary (9 hours), the hours of sleep students would actually get will be either the same or even less than they are getting now. There are some benefits to the change, but for the majority of students, there would only be negative impacts.

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.