Some Schools Start Later To Improve Kids' Mental Health


School start times are getting a new look as a way to address the mental health crisis affecting teens throughout the country, the idea that teens should get more sleep.

During the pandemic, some schools experimented with new schedules. In 2019, Upper Darby, for example, considered later start times. Distance learning was incorporated into the school day this year as part of its effort to accomplish this goal.

Upper Darby Superintendent Daniel McGarry said many students struggled with mental health issues and behavioral issues when they returned to in-person learning. Students were not respecting teachers' authority in the classroom, according to officials.

According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, at least nine states are considering legislation about school start times, up from four last year. In 2019, California became the first and only state to dictate school start times. Denver, Philadelphia, and Anchorage, Alaska, among other large school systems, have been exploring later start times.

Elise Olmstead, a junior, says getting more sleep definitely helps. “I would be more irritable throughout the day, especially later, because I have a lot of after-school things. It would just be harder for me to get through the day."


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