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Boulder Valley School District to delay class start time

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BOULDER, Colo. -- Another metro area school district will join others across the nation in starting the school day later.
Boulder Valley School District officials tell FOX31 changes go into effect in the fall of 2019 affecting thousands of high school students.

The school day will begin up to an hour later in the morning for selected schools.

The district says parents have been asked for input over the past several years regarding he benefits of the change.

Spokesperson Randy Barber tells FOX31 the decision is based on medical research.

The research shows students who start the school day after 8:30 a.m. are likely to achieve higher grades and show a lower risk for depression, "because their circadian rhythms change during their adolescent teenage years, we feel it’s best for our students to learn a little bit later in the morning."

FOX31 consulted sleep expert Dr. Robert Ballard at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center who say delaying morning awakening one to two hours maintains a teenager's normal circadian rhythm and that teens need up to 8 hours of sleep each night.

Parents have mixed reactions to the upcoming changes. Greg Weich tells FOX31, "I get up early I’d rather have my son get up an get to school but I do think academically overall it’s not such a bad idea."

Others, like Steffanie Frese say the school day would run too late into the evening and defeat the purpose of enhancing the student's experience, "It’s not a big enough benefit for what they’re going to lose - homework, having time for family in the evenings, is going away."

Other parents say carpooling and scheduling will be affected.

Broomfield High School student Ryann Zechman tells FOX31 she is concerned about performing after school athletic activities like running outside and driving in the dark during the winter months, "as a beginner driver driving home when it’s really dark, that’s kind of scary by myself."

The district is holding a series of meetings to inform parents about how the changes will be facilitated and address any concerns.

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