Dear Board of Education Members,
We are part of a growing group of more than 600 parents of adolescents or soon-to-be-adolescents in the New Canaan Public School system who are concerned that children in Grades 7-12 begin their school day at 7:30 a.m., a start time that doctors have told us is harmful to an adolescent’s health. It is time for New Canaan to prioritize fixing this problem. Later School Start Times Improve Teen Health
Most adolescents are chronically sleep-deprived and early school start times are a big part of the problem, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All three medical organizations recommend that 7th-to-12th-graders start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
Teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 p.m. due to a biological shift in circadian rhythms that occurs in all adolescents; they are simply not sleepy earlier. With a 7:30 a.m. start time, the window for sleep is not long enough for them to get the required 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep.