No, the new start time delays our days and our lives

Jeffrey Dratch, Assistant Opinion Editor

While many things remain the same in the 2021-2022 school year, one major aspect has changed; the start time. But even though this change seems to improve students’ mornings, I certainly haven’t enjoyed it, as it delays everything. 

For many years, the first bell would ring at 7:15 a.m. and the final at 1:50 p.m. However, after debate from community members and administrators, the announcement was made in spring 2021 to delay the start time by 40 minutes. Now, the first bell rings at 7:55 a.m. and the final at 2:30 p.m. Now, I can’t disagree with the many studies that show a late start benefits mental health and sleep schedules, but I haven’t seen improvement in either of these areas. 

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly never enjoyed having to wake up at 6:20 a.m. and start learning just after 7:20, but I loved being done with school for the day at 1:50 p.m. When school ended so early, I could get additional homework done and still have time for breaks. Now, I find that the 40-minute delay in my day causes me to start homework much later and not have as much time to take a break from academics, therefore only making my mental health worse.

In terms of my sleep schedule, I am still going to bed at around 10:30 p.m. every night (same as 2020-2021), and the new start time only gives me around 30 minutes of additional sleep in the morning—a very minimal increase. Moreover, the increased traffic outside the school prevents me from sleeping in even later.

Even though 40 minutes doesn’t seem like much of a delay in my day, I feel like I am always running out of time and never having enough time to study for upcoming tests and quizzes, which possibly affects my grades. In addition to this, afternoon busses had to be reorganized and compressed this school year in order to transport both middle and high school students home, making bus rides much longer and causing a further delay for students. 

As someone who has an after-school job, I had to change my schedule so that my shifts start at 3:30 p.m. instead of 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. because I will not be able to make it to work on time. It isn’t just me experiencing this; I have heard from classmates that they had to stop working during the school week entirely, as the delay hinders their ability to manage their time.

I am glad to have an administration that is willing to make changes and do what’s best for students, based on a significant amount of research. That being said, I think it would be really important for administrators to listen to student opinions and take into account what we want. I am not calling out the administration, because the change was based on years of research, causing them to believe that delaying start time would benefit students. Surprisingly, I am not the only student who isn’t loving the new start time and have heard from many other students that they enjoyed being able to get out at 1:50. 

I certainly don’t believe that the start time should be reversed, as Algonquin has spent a lot of time and money in order to change it. However, I think it is essential that everyone’s opinions are assessed when making decisions such as this one.