Student Opinions on Potential Later Start Times for 2023-2024 School Year


On February 10, 2022, the Howard County Board of Education approved the decision to plan for later school start times for the 2023-2024 school year. Students have been complaining about not getting enough sleep due to the early school start time. Many Mustangs claim that a later start time would allow for more rest, increasing productivity, focus, and participation. This hot topic amongst the community and school board has been discussed for years, and there may be changes following this year.
“I would be okay with school starting at 8:00; it is the perfect time. It allows me to get more sleep as I play sports and have a lot of homework at night, even if it means school ending a little bit later,” sophomore Andres Alvarez said.
Mustangs often find themselves tired, lazy, and unmotivated. Some students even fall asleep in class. Many students have after-school activities or a great deal of homework at night that prevent them from getting the sleep their bodies need. Later school start times would allow them to get the extra hour they are missing. Even one extra hour of sleep could provide students with more energy to stay focused in school.
“I wouldn’t be as tired in school, and I would have more time at night to do homework. However I don’t like the fact that school would have to also end later as a result,” junior Barry Romero said.
Along with the excitement for a later start time comes conflict with later dismissal times. A later dismissal may interfere with their personal lives and extracurricular activities. It’s expected that school will start between 8:00-8:30. This change would delay the end of school to 2:45 or 3:15. A later dismissal also affects after-school sports and extracurriculars by delaying practice times and club meetings. There would be less daylight, forcing some sports to have their practices cut short.
“If school ends later I don’t want later start times; I would hate to have my practices end late at night leaving me with no freetime. By the time my practice would end, I wouldn’t have enough time to complete homework or hangout with my friends, ” says sophomore Lillie Parsons.
This alteration may affect the community too as some club or county teams practice after high school teams are done, causing them to push their start times back as well. The majority of students are in support of later start times, but are unsure of the later dismissal time that follows. Later start times may cause some disturbance in the community, but many say it is worth it to start your day with an extra hour of sleep.