New bell schedule needs later start

Staff Editorial

Unsigned staff editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the editorial board.

Cal High formed a new bell schedule committee in October to provide student input for the 2022-23 schedule.

The committee provides a unique opportunity for students who joined to voice their opinions and influence Cal’s future schedule after this year’s was quickly decided by a small group of San Ramon Unified School District administrators and teachers. 

Whatever the committee decides will then be voted on by Cal’s faculty before it is implemented next August.

The Californian has compiled a list of suggestions for those on the committee to consider for its second meeting after Thanksgiving. If taken, these suggestions should make next year’s bell schedule more ideal for students.

Most importantly, school needs to start later. Moving school just half an hour later would make a tangible difference.

During distance learning, first period started at 9:40 a.m. This meant more sleep and less early-morning hustling for students, especially when there was only a 30-second commute from the bed to the computer.

When in-person school returned in August, it also started more than an hour earlier than in distance learning. Combined with fighting the resurgence of traffic and scrambling to complete last-minute homework, waking up much earlier became a necessity.

It goes without say that sleep is extremely important. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a lack of sleep is associated with obesity, decreased exercise, depression, poor academic performance, and risky behaviors in teens. 

Moving the start of school later has been proven to help alleviate these issues and provide students with various benefits, such as increased attendance rates and GPAs.

The committee also has been considering extending brunch by moving the five minutes between first and second periods and student support to brunch. We think the students really need this.

By moving and combining the mostly unused student support break period to brunch as the committee previously discussed, brunch can be lengthened to 15 minutes without affecting class hours.

Students hardly have enough time to slog through the sluggish food line in the commons and eat, much less talk to their friends, before brunch ends.

When brunch is the only break after the 2.5 hour first or second period-student support block, this is a problem.

The brief brunch also contributes to food waste because food that students don’t have time to eat often ends up in the trash. 

A longer brunch will let students relax more and enjoy their snack before diving into the rest of their day.

With these necessary changes, Cal’s schedule can become more ideal and manageable for students still readjusting to the return of in-person school.