Eau Claire schools may start later - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire schools may start later

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A discussion about sleep, or the lack of, is a divisive topic being talked about by the Eau Claire School Board.  Right now middle school and high school classes start as early as 7:42 a.m. in Eau Claire.  New research about the way pre-teens and teenagers sleep has some school board members thinking about pushing back those start times.

“Maybe it's a half an hour, maybe it's an hour.  We didn't discuss times,” says Vice President of the Eau Claire School Board, Wendy Sue Johnson.

The proposal is to start middle and high schoolers later than their current schedule.  The main reason: studies show kids do better in school when they get more sleep.

“Research shows that older kids need to go to bed later and get up later to match their natural sleep cycles,” says Johnson.

It might seem like an easy idea, but there are a lot of factors to consider.

“After school care, the principals dealing with their building schedules, the bussing schedule and all of the routes would have to be re-worked,” says Johnson.

The Vice President of the School Board said that three of the board members expressed interest in the change, whereas the other four, weren't quite sure at this time.

“Because the administrators and school staff only have a limited number of hours in a day and so they need to prioritize what the most important use of their time is,” says Johnson.

The school board plans to continue discussing changing school day hours, and they're looking for feedback from the public. If any changes were made, the earliest they'd take effect would be the 2015-2016 school year.

“We don't want people to react, we definitely want to give the community enough time to adjust once the decision is made,” says Johnson.

Again, Wendy Sue Johnson, the Vice President of the School Board invites community members to add to the discussion by letting the board know what they think.  
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