RUSD adjusts school start times as SB-328 takes effect


As detrimental effects of adolescent sleep deprivation affect students like Muskaan Wadhava, the Rocklin Unified School District explores options for adjusting school start times. Photo illustration by Aaryan Midha.

With the passing of California State Law SB-328, middle schools will be required to start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The bill, initially signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019, mandates these changes for the 2022-23 school year. RUSD is in the initial planning phase and Principal Justin Cutts is currently developing the schedule for WHS.

“Based on the guidelines and transportation requirements our start time for school next year will be 8:45 a.m. and will end at 3:40 p.m.,” Cutts said. “Right now we are just gathering feedback from everyone, as there haven’t been many specific decisions made.”

The law aims to assist sleep times for teens with studies from The American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adolescents aged 13 to 18 should sleep at least 8 to 10 hours per day, which California schools hope to achieve by implementing Senate Bill 328. RUSD also hopes to reduce the fiscal impact and ensure sufficient time to pick up students.

“We will be working with the district office, our staff, parents and students to work out the details of all the changes,” Cutts said. “As we finalize some of this we will be sure to share [it] with everyone.”

To gather feedback from staff members, Cutts and the administration team hosted an optional session after school Jan. 19 on Zoom. Teachers raised questions and offered suggestions surrounding the schedule and its effect on athletics, teacher articulation, one versus two lunch schedules and logistics surrounding a new zero period option.

“We are in the early stages of planning so a lot of this is yet to be determined,” Cutts said.

While many are in support of the changes, some students think they won’t be very effective.

“I think it’s going to incentivize teens to sleep later and not push them to do work in the morning,” Ishwarya Prasanna said. “People go to bed whenever they want, it won’t change because of the late start time. On top of that, you’re going to get home super late, which means practice for sports starts late, work shifts and after school activities in general. I just don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Cutts hopes to address the issues presented from multiple perspectives as RUSD moves forward in implementing late start times for next year.

Cutts said, “We have many concerns, but there are some opportunities that are going to be explored over the next few weeks to hopefully give students more options to take classes.”