Special to the Village News
Students at Fallbrook High schools can look forward to a little extra sleep – 50 minutes – this fall on school days. First period classes for Fallbrook High School students previously began at 7:40 a.m. but the new time is 8:30 a.m. when classes resume on Aug. 15.
Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez, superintendent of the Fallbrook Union High School District, explained to board members at the July 11 meeting that the change was based on the biological makeup of teens, which has them naturally staying up later and needing to sleep later into the morning.
It’s also a state law, signed three years ago by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Senate Bill 328 requires all high schools in the state to start no later than 8:30 a.m. The law also requires that middle schools start no earlier than 8 a.m.
With first period classes at Fallbrook High School starting at 8:30 a.m., school is over when sixth period ends at 3:30 p.m. The new schedule includes breaks for morning nutrition and lunch. There also is a 0 period at 7:24 a.m. for students needing extra classes.
The schedule also will mean that afternoon sports events will start later in the day.
Oasis High School will have a similar 8:30 a.m. start but no nutrition break, so school is over at 2:58 p.m. There is a teacher prep period that begins at 7:30 a.m.
Shifts in the biological rhythms of teenagers make them become sleepy later in the day, sleep study experts said. Changes in the adolescent brain associated with puberty and maturation push adolescents' circadian rhythm toward a “night owl” preference of up to two hours later than in elementary school; and slow the buildup of sleep pressure that makes people more and more tired as the day progresses, experts said.
Research findings suggest that changes occur in the “biological clock” during adolescence. As a result, teenagers have a natural tendency to fall asleep later and to wake up later, referred to as sleep phase delay.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teenagers 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep a night. (Young adults ages 18-25 need 7-9 hours.) With so many teens not even reaching 7 hours of nightly rest, it's clear there's widespread sleep deprivation among teenagers today, experts said. The earlier school start times added to the problem and was the reason for the legislation.
In other business at the school board July 11 meeting, the board approved a resolution for a temporary waiver for developer fees for structures being re-built as a result of the Chaparral Fire in August 2021.
The waiver will be effective from now and to June 30, 2023. Residents, who chose to rebuild after that period, will not be entitled to this temporary exemption.
Brenda Medford, chief business officer for the district, explained that recovery from a disaster is a difficult one, particularly for property owners, who have lost their homes and personal possessions. District staff recommended that permit fees be temporarily waived for the reconstruction of structures damaged and/or destroyed as the result of the fire. She noted that the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District also is recommending a waiver.