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Guidance for High School Late Start Times Starting in 2021

At its meeting on March 4, the Salt Lake City Board of Education took another step towards implementing high school – and possibly middle school – late start times in the Salt Lake City School District. High school late start is a topic the Board has considered and studied for at least the last five years, but this year, they’ve taken increased steps to move the conversation forward.

Last month, the Board instructed Salt Lake City School District superintendent, Dr. Lexi Cunningham to form a Late Start Task Force to provide recommendations to the Board. The task force asked for guidance on an implementation timeline, and last night, the Board instructed the task force to provide recommendations with the 2021-22 school year as a tentative implementation starting point. The Board also instructed the task force to work towards a start time beginning at or around 8:45 a.m. for high schools and, if possible, also for middle schools.

Board member Katherine Kennedy  made the motions and said, “As I make these two motions, I ask that we also remember former board president Heather Bennett, who was dedicated to the idea that students need more sleep, and who expended great effort during her final years as a board member to reach this goal for our school district. Her efforts made a difference.”

Board President Melissa Ford said, “I’m excited to see our community come together on something so pivotal that we know will benefit our students. I’ve appreciated the opportunities we’ve had thus far to hear from stakeholders, both those who support, and those who have concerns about, late start. Our Board is mindful of the many ways this change will impact families across the Salt Lake City School District, and we look forward to continuing our work with community members and stakeholders on this very important issue.”

The Board will continue to discuss this issue, and to receive recommendations from the Late Start Task Force, in future Board meetings.

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