Late Starts 2021: A Student’s Perspective

Everywhere, alarms sound in the bedrooms of sleep deprived teenagers, ripping them from their slumber. Students live through the monotony of school for weeks on end until they are given a three-day weekend to recuperate. But, it’s different for Fenwick students. Fenwick has tried to combat this lack of variation by providing their students with a 45 minute late start every two weeks or so. This delays the start of the school day to 8:45.

Historically, the “delayed start” at Fenwick, pushed the start of the day back to 9:20 a.m.; however, it was much less frequent. This is an hour and twenty minutes later than the usual start to school. When the late start schedule for this year was first released, many students were frustrated and claimed that the 45 minute delay did not truly change anything.

Those who take Fenwick transportation still have to leave at the same time they normally do because the bus and train routes are not adaptable to the late start. Sophomore Eleni Stavropolous explained her morning routine: “When we have 8:45 starts, I still have to wake up at my usual time of 5:50, get ready, leave, and have to catch the bus at 6:30. With all of the stops along the way, we get to school at 7:50, and have to wait until the first bell.” Many Fenwick Families rely on the transportation system to get their children to school, so this is a large group of students who do not truly gain any rest from the late start.

Students who drive themselves to school are another group to take into consideration. Junior Claire Papp stated, “I leave my house 30 minutes later on a late start day. The traffic is never predictable around 8 a.m., so it can be stressful in the morning because I often find myself stuck in morning traffic. I have been late on an 8:45 late start day two times.” The tardy rates on late start days are exponentially higher than those of normal days. This small delay can lead students to believe they have more time in the morn- ing than they truly do. This is yet another reason that 45 minutes is hardly enough to be called a true delayed start.

Neighboring school OPRF has late starts at 9:45am every other Wednesday. While this is one extreme, it definitely gives both teachers and students an opportunity to reset.

A primary reason for delayed starts is teacher meetings, including department meetings and faculty meetings. These 45 minute meetings allow teachers to collaborate and communicate on department and school projects.

There are many different sides to con- sider in this debate: those of the student, the teacher, and the family of the student. But the vote from the student body is quite clear: a less frequent, but 9:20 a.m. late start is preferred to the more abundant 8:45 a.m. option. This would likely reduce the amount of tardies on late start days, give students the opportunity to sleep in more or get ahead on work, and give teachers ample time to meet. It truly could be a win-win-win.