Advantages and disadvantages of early start times in school

MARION COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - After a few months without those early morning alarm clocks going off before school, some parents are telling us they feel a later start might be more beneficial.

Some schools in our area have their opening bells ringing at around 7:30 but for those who ride buses, those days start closer to 6 a.m.

Some say they feel a later start would be more beneficial when it comes to retention of classroom material and overall learning, but others feel kids should be getting plenty of sleep.

"I don't think there should be a problem with 7:30," said Nancy Olmos. "It just depends if they go to sleep."

"Later start times would be better," said Steve Conrad. "I've read that later start times and a shorter day are actually better for the kids."

How is it in some schools in our area? Harrison County Superintendent Mark Manchin said this is concern that has been brought up before, and it's something he has thought about quite a bit.

"But even 7:37, we have buses running at 6 a.m," said Dr. Mark Manchin, the Superintendent of Harrison County Schools. "We know that's early, and I'm very cognizant of that. I'm very amenable to looking at a later starting time. But again, that means a little later on the end."

In Marion County, Superintendent Gary Price mentioned how many students in the county like to participate in after school activities, such as sports. Even if they don't participate, getting home later in the day could present some conflicts.

"Later start times sounds good but who wants to finish school at 5:00," said Gary Price, the Superintendent of Marion County Schools. "Who wants to go home and not have too much time to spend except you do your homework, now it's time to go to bed."

What about the science behind it? 5 News spoke with a pediatrician who said children in schools should get about eight hours of sleep each night.

"As far as when kids learn, I think every kid is a little bit different," said Dr. Mary-Ann Kroll. "But I think when they've had the good sleep, they can be better learners in the early morning or mid morning."