WARSAW — In January, the board of trustees for Warsaw Community Schools heard a presentation from a medical doctor who touted the benefits of having secondary school students start their day a little later, citing sleep deprivation related to puberty and post-puberty.
At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, March 18, the board heard another presentation related to later start times — this time from someone urging the board not to cut back on the slumber of the school corporation’s youngest patrons.
“My concern lies with the significantly earlier start times for the elementary schools,” said Dr. Judson Everitt, who took advantage of public comment time at the end of the two-hour board meeting. “The range of relevant scientific research indicates that we cannot conclude with any degree of certainty, or even much confidence, that start times this early for our elementary schools will have no negative effects on younger students.”
At its January meeting, the board heard from Dr. Caitlin Ryser, who told the board that junior high and high school students wind down later in the day, requiring them to sleep later in the morning. The doctor told the board that there was less research available on the subject for elementary school children.
Everitt implied that the school corporation was planning to switch start times between secondary and elementary students, which would essentially send the grade schoolers to school earlier.
“Flipping the current schedule does not solve the problems created by early start times,” he said. “It simply shifts the burden of these problems from our high school students to our elementary students.
Board President Heather Reichenbach thanked Everitt for his input.