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North Andover Pushes School Start Times Later

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File image (credit: AP)

File image (credit: AP)

NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – In North Andover, families will have to make some changes to their morning routine starting next fall.

Thursday night, the School Committee voted to shift the school start times a bit later. The goal was to let teenagers get a bit more sleep, as research shows their body clocks need it.

“It’s not a huge change; it’s a small change. But it’s a step in the direction of hopefully getting a slightly later start change for our teens,” School Committee Vice Chair Christine Allen said. “It really is about looking at the science of adolescents and their sleep patterns and giving it a shot at trying to get them a little bit more sleep.”

Christine Allen speaks with WBZ News Radio 1030’s Jon MacLean

Starting in the fall, North Andover High School will begin classes at 7:35 a.m. instead of 7:15. The Middle School will start at 7:45 a.m. instead of 7:20 and five elementary schools will start their day ten minutes later, at 8:25.

The time change for the younger kids was necessary in order not to raise bussing costs.

“I think that this change was such a modest change that it doesn’t have a huge impact on parents and their schedules,” Allen said. “That was a pretty significant concern, particularly in the elementary schools. Working parents having to pay for care before school was a real concern for us, or having to shift their schedules so dramatically that it might compromise their jobs.

An advisory committee studied the start time shift for several months, and surveyed parents. According to the school department, nearly 70 percent of parents thought it was a good idea to start adolescents’ school days later.

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