Fairfax County debating later start times for high school studen - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Fairfax County debating later start times for high school students

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Can you imagine getting nine hours of sleep each night? Experts say that’s how much your teenager should be getting but most of them are actually only getting seven hours or less.

Fairfax County is thinking of ways to help students get that extra sleep. A team of sleep science experts from Children's National Medical Center were hired last spring. They are looking into the benefits of starting the school day later for Fairfax County high school students.

No specific start time has been laid out yet, but the experts are presenting their early findings to the Fairfax County School Board.

Officials with the schools say that any changes to school start times would cause a ripple effect on other activities at the school.

88 school districts across the country have adopted last start times. Montgomery County in Maryland is also thinking about it. But critics are asking: won't kids just stay up later?

According to Dr. Judith Owens from National Children’s Medical Center, the answer to that is no. She says based on other studies, bed times do not shift later.

No decision has been made yet for Fairfax County, but the expert panel will have several options for the school board to consider in April.

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