New law benefits sleeping schedules

Next school year, Diamond Bar High School students will be introduced to a delayed school schedule—beginning classes at least 30 minutes later, thanks to a new California bill. 

Senate Bill 328, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019, will require high schools within the state to begin their classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Motivated by a public health movement concerned about sleep deprivation in students, the proposal was created as a universal solution to increasing sleep time.

“It’s going to give them more time to sleep and get ready in the morning,” DBHS instructional dean Jennifer Burns said. “They’ll be more awake, hopefully, for the first period.”

Despite the time requirements, zero period will continue to be an option for students. However, to accommodate the 30-minute schedule shift, these classes may be held later than usual Burns said.

Although its intended purpose is to increase sleep time, some argue the bill doesn’t have as much of an impact on students’ sleep, considering it will push everything back by a matter of minutes. A much larger concern that has arisen since the bill’s passing is how the later schedule will affect students’ time to complete homework and tend to their extracurriculars. 

“It impacts our sports. It impacts our performing arts academy,” Instructional dean Gabriel Aguilar said. “It’s not just, ‘What time do we start?’, ‘What time do we finish?’ No, we’re very, very meticulous.”

In response to the later school start times, some students feel that the sudden change would impact their current sleep habits.

“I do like enjoying my sleep but I think it would mess up my sleeping schedule, causing me to sleep later,” freshman Evelyn Nakaishi said via Instagram. 

Other students are excited about the change and the potential elimination of usual first period drowsiness. 

“We’d be more alert and ready to intake all of the new information from our teachers,” freshman Kaylene Trinh said via text.

However another area that potentially faces issues due to the bill is sports. Aguilar emphasized how the shift will affect outdoor sports that do not have the support of stadium lights, such as baseball and golf, considering the presence of sunlight is essential for players to see and play the game. 

“If you’re an outdoor sport that you know you’re not going to wrap up by the time the sun sets, you’re going to be impacted,” he said. 

But high schoolers are not the only students affected by this change. The district bus schedule raises new concerns for elementary and middle schools as well. For instance, elementary students, who cannot ride the bus at the same time as high schoolers, may have to start school earlier to fit the staggered bus schedule.

“We do have to be aware that all the districts use the same buses,” Burns said. “All those start times are gonna be dependent on bus routes.”

In hopes of giving students a smooth transition into the new school schedule, the administration has already begun discussing sample schedules and possible effects of the bill’s implementation on DBHS.