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Barrington changing to later start times at middle, high schools

Barrington High School (WJAR File Photo)
Barrington High School (WJAR File Photo)
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The Barrington School District is changing up start times in the fall.

While the exact times are still being ironed out, high school students should expect to start around 8:30 a.m. beginning the next school year. That's 50 minutes later than they currently start.

Middle school students will also start 50 minutes later.

“It's a health benefit to our secondary students,” Superintendent Michael Messore said.

Messore said he was convinced it was a good idea after talking with a superintendent in Maine who implemented later start times for older students.

“He said it changed the culture and demeanor of his building, so students came to school much more energetic, more engaged,” Messore said.

The school district said there are other benefits to starting school later, including reduced absences and tardiness, as well as health benefits, such as reduced substance abuse and anxiety.

Students in grades K through fifth will be starting earlier. Messore said fourth and fifth graders are looking at starting 50 minutes earlier, around 8 a.m., which he says will benefit that age group.

“We actually tracked some data that showed that were many early dismissals for students to get to afterschool activities that started either in town or outside of town,” he said. “And getting them home earlier will allow them an opportunity to rest.”

But not everyone's on board with the changes.

Maya Striuli, who is a Barrington High School graduate, doesn't think a later start time is a good idea.

She said it'll make it harder for parents to find childcare and won't have the intended benefits for high school students

“When everything just keeps getting pushed back, that means homework is going to be pushed back, too, so at the end of the day, they're getting the same amount of sleep,” she said.

The change will cost the district $246,000 more next school year, as more buses are needed to manage the new start times.

The school district said the schedule is subject to change before the new school year begins.

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