Senate Committee to Discuss Later School Start Times

A Senate panel in Pennsylvania is set to discuss the possibility of later school start times today. The Education Board will hear arguments from supporters who believe that pushing back the start of the school day could improve both student performance and overall quality of life.

The meeting, which will be live-streamed on the Senate website, will kick off at 1:00 p.m. The agenda includes opening remarks from Senator Dave Argall, Majority Chair of the Education Committee, and Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair of the Education Committee.

The first panel, scheduled from 1:05 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., will feature Dr. Joanna Fong-Isariyawongse, an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Indira Gurubhagavatula, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Amy Goldman, the Co-founder of the Regional Adolescent Sleep Needs Coalition.

The second panel, from 1:45 p.m. to 2:05 p.m., will include Jennifer Thomsen, a Principal Consultant at the Education Commission on the States. The third panel, from 2:05 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., will hear from Dr. Shane Hotchkiss, Superintendent of the Bermudian Springs School District, Aaron Sepkowski, Owner Operator of Pocono Transportation & Vice President of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association, Mark Byers, Chief Operating Officer of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and Jennifer Grassel, Assistant Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The discussion comes in the wake of a bill proposed by Rep. Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland) that would require public secondary schools to start no earlier than 8:15 a.m. If passed, this change wouldn't take effect until the 2026-27 school year. Cooper's proposal was influenced by a 2019 Joint State Government Commission report that highlighted an "epidemic of chronic sleep loss and daytime sleepiness in adolescents."

Child tired and bored of doing homework, kid stressed from learning indoors

Photo: Nadezhda1906 / iStock / Getty Images

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