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School board in Lehigh County to discuss later school start times

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 12, 2019 4:54 AM
School bus snow.jpg

FILE PHOTO: A school bus driver drives along a snow covered street during a heavy snow day in Chicago, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(Emmaus) -- A Lehigh County school board is discussing later starting times for middle school and high school students.

The East Penn School Board discussed the matter last night in Emmaus, and the board's agenda contained an item directing district administrators to create a report on later school starts for older students.

Emmaus High School students currently begin classes at 7:23 a.m. on weekdays. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended adolescents start school at 8:30 a.m. or later, saying students getting less than eight hours of sleep could see a negative impact on their grades.

School board member Ziad Munson says he's been thinking about the issue for at least two years since it came up during a public comment period.

Several other districts are considering whether to follow suit, including in Lower Merion and Radnor Township.

More than a dozen districts in Central and Western Pennsylvania have already done so, according to the group Start Schools Later, which is part of Regional Adolescent Sleep Needs Coalition.

Last fall, the state Senate adopted a resolution to form an advisory committee to study high school start times throughout the Commonwealth. That study is due to the General Assembly this fall.

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