School Start Time Could Change for Webster Students

13 WHAM - "There was a packed house over a hot topic in the town of Webster on Wednesday.

The Webster Central School District is exploring later start times for middle and high school students."

""I think the science is undeniable," said Webster Central Schools Superintendent Carmen Gumina. "Our kids need more sleep."

Gumina says by June, he will be interviewing 1,000 students about school start times and their sleep patterns. Gumina says he has interviewed 200 students already.

"Most of them say they get between six and seven hours of sleep," Gumina says.

The recommended sleep time for adolescent children is more than nine hours.

"Towards the end of the day, you feel it hit you," said middle school student Samantha Fallone, who gets between 7-8 sleep hours per night. "The lack of sleep is because finishing homework at night, then having to wake up early to get to school."

All Webster middle school students begin their day at 7:30 a.m. All Webster high school students begin at 7:25 a.m. All Webster elementary school students begin at 9:00 a.m.

On Wednesday night, the Webster Central School District held a special meeting with the help of doctors from the University of Rochester.

Doctors and district staff began to showcase how more sleep for adolescent students could benefit them in a number of ways, including memory, mood and academic achievement.

"If it means an hour of adjusting their school day, then I'm willing to hear and consider that," said Webster parent Carleen Fallone.

If elementary students are called into school earlier, some parents are concerned about younger students possibly waiting for the bus during winter mornings.

On the 13WHAM Facebook page, Tasha Hardy writes in part:

"A lot of families have the older kids watch their younger brothers or sisters till mom and dad get home, wouldn't this mess that up?"

Superintendent Gumina says he is aware of the initial concern, and will spend the next nine months working out a logistical plan.

The district says it will present recommendations before the school board as early as summer 2018. Gumina says if the move were to pass, new start times would not go into effect for another two school years."


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