Is your high-schooler hard to pry out of bed in the morning on school days?

Help may be on the way for Andover parents, in the form of a school schedule that lets older students sleep later.

The School Committee expects to vote at the end of November on possible changes to school starting times.

The discussion began last year and will continue as an agenda item at the committee's next four meetings. A public forum on the topic will be held Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at the media center of Andover High School.

The School Committee is considering three options:

Keep school starting times as they are now. Elementary schools currently start at 8:45 a.m., middle schools at 7:45 a.m. and the high school at 7:44 a.m.

Shifting those times back 30 to 45 minutes. Elementary schools would start sometime between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m., while middle schools and the high school would start sometime between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m.

Flipping the starting times of elementary schools with middle schools and the high school. In that scenario, elementary schools would start sometime between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., while middle schools and the high school would start sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.

School officials said the School Committee is considering changing the times because some experts say that biologically, high school students need more sleep time than they get. Students of that age generally have trouble getting to sleep at night, and therefore have difficulty waking up in the morning for an early start to school, some experts say.

School Committee Chairman Joel Blumstein said the goal is to vote on the issue in November so parents, students and teachers have time to adjust their routines before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, when the new times would go into effect.

The November vote also means the decision would be made before the next school budget season. That would allow officials to prepare for any costs to emerge related to changing school times.

Committee members said they are looking at changing start times to improve the physical, mental and academic performance of students.

A presentation from the committee, which cited commentary from a number of sleep studies, said it is unnatural for teens to be able to fall asleep before 11 p.m., though they should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.

"My perspective is we need to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people," said School Committee member Shannon Scully.


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