CDC says school day should start later - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

CDC says school day should start later

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

High school senior Shania Custodio-Velasco juggles studies, student government and sports. Her school starts at 8:10 a.m.

"Sometimes I have a meeting right after school.  Then I have to head over to practice. I don't get home until maybe 7.  By then I'm already tired, but I still have to stay up to study," she said. 

Shania averages six hours of sleep.

To succeed academically, the CDC recommends adolescents get 8 to 9 hours of sleep, so the school day should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later.

McKinley High School principal Ron Okamura said that would extend the school day and affect after-school activities like athletics.

"It impacts what time they can practice, or even games that place after school," he said. 

Some health experts insist sleep deprived teens are more likely to overeat, and turn to alcohol and drugs.

"Poor performance leads to poor grades, and that could lead down the road to a student or a teenager not fulfilling their potential," said Dr. Gary Dela Cruz. 

This year, Kaimuki High School switched to a starting time of 8:58 a.m. Principal Wade Araki said it's cut down on tardiness and allows students to take college courses before Kaimuki's morning bell.

"A later start is better because they're getting to bed later at night. They won't be as sleep deprived," he said.

But Okamura said a later start doesn't guarantee a student's getting more shuteye. Still, Shania wishes she had that option.

"Even if you had an extra half an hour of sleep,  that will actually help out a lot," she said. 

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