Letter on School Start Times to BOE, Superintendent: “The Issue is Not Going Away”

Letter submitted by Valerie Erde of Start School Later to the the Greenwich Board of Education and Interim Greenwich Schools Superindent Dr. Sal Corda, Aug 25, 2016

Dear Board of Education Members and Dr. Corda,
As you continue to examine the school start time issue, I thought it might be helpful for you to get the latest news from around the country including, (on Aug 25), a second endorsement of later start times by USA Today’s Editorial Board High School Starting Times: Our View   and screen shot below from yet another district, Park City Utah,  that voted on Tuesday night (Aug 23) to implement change – absent of a specific implementation plan.
This joins the already clear and strong support by the “alphabet soup” of leading medical/health organizations – AMA, AAP, CDC, APA — and I’ll add the SPN (Society of Pediatric Nurses) and the NASN (National Association of School Nurses) in case you are unaware of those organizations.  Later school start times for Greenwich were also endorsed by Greenwich Time Editorial Board and 35 Greenwich health professionals – including almost every major pediatric practice in town (one missing that we just didn’t get to in time) and the head of pediatrics at Greenwich Hospital.
This issue is not going away, and you have had all the time and research/data that you need to come to a decision to move forward with implementation  – even if every “T” is not yet crossed nor every “I” dotted.
Any district that wants to make this change can make it; it is a matter of will, not of athletic/club schedules.
As wonderful as activities are, they are not main reason we send our children to school and I assume why they are termed: extra-curricular.
We must do what is best for the health, well being, and safety of the majority of our students.  And the icing on the cake is that with a later start time, our adolescents are also likely to perform better and more safely in their extra-curricular activities.
The conversation about school start times in Greenwich was open to all members of the community for more than a year, with various opportunities and platforms for participating, providing input and feedback.  We hope you vote for what is medically right for our students and which also represents a consistent majority view of the constituents who have participated in this conversation and who are still signing the petition for change – now at 1,727 signatories.
Valerie Erde
Start School Later, Greenwich
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