ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Sleep in. After years of parents and students pushing, one Maryland county will shift school schedules later in the day. Just how much later? That’s still to be determined.

Rick Ritter doctors say it’s actually unhealthy for high schoolers to get up so early.

Doctors say it’s physically and mentally exhausting for kids. Anne Arundel County put forward $1 million to shift their start times. This could impact all grade levels–from elementary to high school.

For most kids, morning comes far too soon. Up before the crack of dawn for school–a disadvantage.

“I just end up being tired all day, keep my head down,” one student said.

A pressing issue Anne Arundel County now has the money to address.

“This was really welcome news for us,” said Bob Mosier, Anne Arundel County schools.

Right now, elementary school starts around the 9 o’clock hour, middle school around the 8 o’clock hour and high school at 7:17 a.m.

Mosier says new software will show how bus schedules can be altered, ultimately deciding what start times can be pushed back.

“The focus has been on high school start times because they’re the earliest starting schools in our county,” he said. “But we have looked at it comprehensively and how we’re going to shift all start times.”

Doctors say teenagers’ biological clocks are naturally geared towards later bed times and later wake up times–a serious problem that’s harming kids.

“They’re making decisions about academics, relationships, driving. It becomes really terrifying,” said Dr. Jennifer Accardo, Kennedy Krieger.

An Anne Arundel County elementary teacher and parent, Shelly Smith feels for high school students.

“I can see they would benefit more than our elementary students because they lose focus as the day goes on,” she said.

But some parents are left wondering if a later start will even make a difference.

“I just feel like if it starts later, they’re just going to stay up later and they’ll be just as tired when they go to school in the morning,” said Scott Smith, parent.

The changes won’t take place until the 2016 school year.

Doctors say teens need between eight and a half to nine and a half hours of sleep a night. Statistics show only 13 percent of high school students are getting that amount of sleep.

Rick Ritter


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