Waking a teenager up at seven in the morning for high school may soon no longer be a struggle faced by many Ann Arbor parents as the Ann Arbor School Board considers implementing a later start in the day for students, but the change is still under debate. A statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics in August of last year caught the attention of many Ann Arbor parents and guardians. According to the AAPS's research, students are simply not getting the 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep that their growing brains need, urging middle and high schools to aim for start times of 8:30am or later. Despite that advice, Secretary of the Board Andy Thomas said the decision is far from an easy one to make.
“There are many sides to this issue and many factors to be taken into consideration,” Thomas said. “Some parents have questioned whether moving to a later start time would really result in improved sleep patterns for students, or whether this would just push everything back, with students staying up even later than they do now and not adding any actual sleep time.”
The later start time could interfere with extracurriculars, which is another obstacle. Thomas also said that the cost of transportation would have to increase, because if middle and high school followed the AAPS’s recommendation and started at the same time, more bus drivers would need to be hired. The board’s performance committee will meet in March to further discuss this proposal.