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Pinellas County School District Considers Changing School Start Time Next Year

Madeleine Katz, Staff Reporter

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Pinellas County School District is considering following Hillsborough County’s lead and having high schools start about 20 minutes earlier next year. According to the Pinellas County school district, the change in start time would only affect high school students and the start times for middle and elementary school would remain the same.

While Pinellas County high schoolers must currently be at school for 7:05, the school district is considering changing it to sometime between 7:20 and 7:30. This could pose a problem for working students since they would get out of school later and end up being able to work less time after school. Considering that school will end only about  20 minutes later, there won’t be a significant change in the amount of time they work.

The extra 20 minutes of time before school starts will give high schoolers some extra time to sleep. Many students have late nights studying and the extra 20 minutes of sleep could help them be more alert during the school day. Sleep deprivation is a major issue for high school students and any extra sleep could be beneficial to their health.

On the part of the school district, lots of organizing is going into the effort to push back the high school start times. They are working on finding ways to route school buses that would allow the change.

Concerned Pinellas County parents have come together to petition for a later start time and the were able to collect 5,500 signatures, showing that there is support for the change from Pinellas parents as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

“I think it’s a good start. I don’t think 20 minutes will make much of a difference in the long run, though,” said sophomore, Avery Gross.

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