One of the biggest school districts in the country has decided to push back school start times past 8:30 a.m., allowing students to sleep in later.
In a historic vote, the Seattle School Board made the decision on Wednesday, based on research showing the extra shut-eye could benefit teens’ learning and health.
“We will become the largest district in the country to make this switch, and hopefully we will set a trend,” Sharon Peaslee, the board’s vice president, said in a statement via King 5 News.
“This is a historic moment.”
It was close to unanimous with a 6-1 vote to start the district’s middle schools and some K-8 schools at 8:45am in the 2016-17 year. Other schools’ morning bell will ring between 7:55 a.m. or 9:35 a.m.
“This is a great win for our students,” Peaslee said in an interview with the Seattle Times. “We will unleash a torrent of public schools shifting to bell times that make sense for students.”
The research comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics, who recommend school days begin after 8:30 a.m. Assuming there’s a proper bedtime, that should net eight and a half to nine and a half hours of sleep a night.
Less than a third of high schoolers sleep more than eight hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nationwide, the average school start time for middle and high schools is currently 8:03 a.m., according to July data from the CDC.