RUSD finalizes later start times for 2022-23 school year


The new schedule for the 2022-23 school year begins at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3:40 p.m. As a result of these changes, classes like football weights will be offered during a new zero period before school. Photo by Aaryan Midha.

In adherence to California State Law SB-328, which requires that middle schools start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m, the Rocklin Unified School District will implement new start times for the 2022-23 school year. From Tuesday to Friday, RUSD high schools will begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m, while Monday will start at 8:45 a.m. and finish at 2 p.m, in an effort to increase sleep times among adolescents.

“Taking into account the guidelines and transportation requirements, our start and end times for school next year works best at these times,” Principal Mr. Justin Cutts said. “We will continue to work with the district office, our staff, parents and students to work out the details of all the changes.”

Administrative staff is currently finalizing a draft that details the specific times for each period. PAWS time may be altered to occur before lunch instead of after break before the second block. In addition, zero period classes will be offered before school, which can allow juniors and seniors to leave campus early or potentially add an additional course for all grade levels.

The sample schedule above is based on the April 29 draft still under revision. With the introduction of an optional zero period, students can experience the same start times, however PAWS is moved to before lunch as it was in the pre-pandemic schedule when the program was called intervention.

“With the new late start bell schedule going into effect next school year, we will be offering varsity football, jazz band, U.S. History and gov/econ during zero period,” Front Desk Clerk Mrs. Carmen Colhour said. 

Students who are interested in signing up for a zero period or would like more information can sign up to meet with their counselor using the Google Form. Freshmen and sophomores are still required to take eight normal periods in addition to a possible zero period. Juniors and seniors, however, can move one of their courses to the zero period if available, which may allow them to leave school at an earlier time. Currently, only football will have a morning practice that occurs during zero period, while other sports are moved later to accommodate for the schedule changes.

“Football can work through their routines during zero period, and coaches from other sports are actively looking into it,” Athletic Director Mr. Nick French said. “Additionally, indoor sports like volleyball, basketball and wrestling will all be pushed back to 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. depending on the level. Study hall will also be for freshman athletes only and the times might have to change since we are getting out of school an hour later. It’s definitely going to be a learning curve at first, but I’m sure everybody will get used to it.”

The new start times aim to counteract issues affecting youth such as the lack of sleep; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 out of 10 high school students do not get the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep on school nights. Guidance Counselor Mr. Mac Blate is looking forward to seeing the effect of implementing later start times.

“From the counseling standpoint, we’re excited about these new changes and how it will hopefully positively affect students by allowing students the opportunity to sleep longer,” Blate said. “We also understand the value of zero periods for students who have commitments in the afternoon, especially regarding our athletes. I think we’re going to learn a lot within the next year, and hopefully it will be positive for everyone.”

Studies from The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later to achieve optimal sleep among adolescents aged 13 to 18. However, some feel that the changes mandated by California State Law SB-328 will do more harm than good.

Aiden Richmond said, “Since school ends one hour later for most students, there will be less time in the day to complete homework, attend sports practices and work a job, which will just pile up and cause many to sleep even later. If I could, I would keep it the way it is right now, but since the changes are required, I’m hoping that the zero period will make my schedule easier to navigate.”