Cherry Creek School District unanimously votes to change start times

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AURORA, Colo. -- The Cherry Creek School District voted unanimously Monday night to change the start times for the next school year.

Elementary school start times will switch from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m., while middle schools will start 30 minutes later (8:50 a.m.) and high schools will start an hour later (8:20 a.m.).

The district conducted a survey in which 25,000 people participated. Of those who participated, 73 percent said the issue of school start times was "important” or “very important.”

Scientific studies show after puberty, students’ body clocks change. Students learn better, stay healthier and are more focused when school starts later.

The studies also said lack of sleep among middle school and high school students can lead to increases in depression and anxiety.

Opponents of the start time changes said it will have an negative impact on child care. Older siblings will be in school later and won’t be able to take care of elementary-age students.

Opponents also worry that later start times mean students will walk home from the bus in the dark, finish activities later and miss family dinners.

The school board acknowledged the decision might have a negative impact on some families, but said the benefits of more sleep outweighs those disadvantages.

In Colorado, the Boulder Valley School District has pushed back start times, and has seen grade-point averages and attendance rise.

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