VIDEO: Novato school district considers later start time

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NOVATO (KRON) — One North Bay school district is considering letting some students sleep in a little more.

The proposal would allow Novato middle and high schools to push their start times back.

KRON4s Maureen Kelly talked to children at Novato high who all seem to like the idea.

“Yeah. It’s a good idea,” sophomore Josh Jossart said. “We need more sleep. We are teenagers.”

“If we start later, then we get to learn more things,” freshman Willy Lopez said. “We are more focused and awake, instead of tired and sleepy.”

Other students agreed with Lopez and Jossart.

“It would give me more time to get a little more rest,” senior Laylani Williams said. “And plus, you know, staying up late for homework and stuff. It’s still kind of hard.”

The reason these kids want to start school later is exactly why Novato Unified is considering the proposal.

The students at Novato high start before 7:30 a.m. most days, which means they have to get up really early.

“I get up around like 6:30,” Williams said.

“I have to get up at 5 in the morning,” Lopez added.

“And that’s not abnormal,” principal Matt Baldwin said. “There’s a lot of kids that are getting up 4:30, 5 o’ clock to be here on time, and there’s kids that are taking care of their family, like helping their family out, helping their parents out, getting siblings up in the morning, getting them ready. It’s just not….They’re getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep and it is having a huge effect on kids.”

The principal of the school has been pushing the concept of letting his students get more sleep for two years now.

Baldwin said studies have shown that teens can suffer when they don’t get 8-to-9 hours of sleep.

“Adolescents or teenagers were suffering from depression and anxiety, and what was the result of that. Why? What was happening? And the common denominator was lack of sleep, sleep deprivation,” Baldwin said.

The district has formed a later start committee looking at working out the logistics.

It mostly means jiggering the school schedule, so they get all the instructional hours in they need to do and can still get the kids out early enough to play after school sports while there is still daylight, since they don’t have any lights on their football and soccer field.

The committee is hoping to come up with a decision by March, which could mean Novato middle and high school districts will be setting their alarms for a later wake-up time by next school year.

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