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Fairfax Considers Altering School Schedules So Students Can Sleep More

The Fairfax County School Board is examining four proposals concerning school schedules that would allow teens to get more sleep. According to The Washington Post, the school board has agreed to a plan that includes eliminating half-day Mondays and adding 11 school days to the calendar to accommodate for inclement weather for elementary school students.

Although Fairfax County School Board recently agreed to add more instructional time for elementary school students, there seems to be a general consensus among board members, teachers and parents that teens simply need more sleep.

With homework from numerous classes, projects, college or military aptitude tests, college acceptance anxieties, possibly a part-time job, family and social engagements, clubs, or sports, being a teen can get pretty hectic and having enough sleep can certainly affect the outcome in all of these activities.

Fairfax County recently approved a new method of measuring state accreditation, which involves scheduling a minimum of 990 classroom hours as opposed to setting and counting a certain number of academic school days. Under their current schedule, that would mean that Fairfax students have at least an extra 110 hours in excess. Question is, what should students and schools do with that time?

Some of that time will be used as a buffer in the case of snow days, but that still leaves an ample amount of time unaccounted for. Some board members have suggested moving the first class back to 9:15 a.m. Others have proposed reverting to a six-block class schedule that would shorten class time and allow for more sleep.

Researchers at the Children’s National Medical Center developed four alternative bell schedules for consideration. The board has held a series of community meetings with parents to discuss the four proposals and is scheduled to conduct a progress report on the center’s findings on July14th.

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