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Sleep Specialists Team Up With Fairfax County To Study School Start Times

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Studies have shown that high school students need more sleep in order to remain alert and attentive during the school day.
Studies have shown that high school students need more sleep in order to remain alert and attentive during the school day.

A team of sleep specialists is collaborating with the Fairfax County public school system to develop a plan to delay the start time for high schools.

The Children's National Medical Center's sleep medicine division is being contracted by the county school board. The doctors will brainstorm with parents and school officials about how best to move the high school start time to 8 a.m. or later. Right now nearly all Fairfax county public schools start at 7:20 a.m.

The initiative is the result of a $143,000 appropriation by the county to study possible senarios on a later school start.

The team plans to hold town hall and community meetings to solicit discussion and suggestions, review other school districts that have delayed their start times and open an online portal to provide updates and community feedback.

Last year parents in Montgomery County petitioned to have high schools to push back the starting bell from 7:20 to 8:20 a.m., arguing that a more rested student is a student that is more alert during class.

The goal of the Fairfax County study is to ensure that students get proper night's sleep and enough school hours in the day.

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