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Guilford schools to start later in 2018-19 school year

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GUILFORD -- Students in the Guilford public school system are about to get a bit more sleep!

Starting in the fall of the 2018-2019 school year, students in the Guilford public school are going to start later in an attempt to give  students more sleep, and hopefully improve their academic performance.

At their regular meeting on July 9, 2018, the Board of Education voted to accept the recommendation of the School Start Times Task Force (StartForce) in their April 23, 2018, Interim Report and move the start time for Guilford High School 15 minutes later, from 7:25am to 7:40am and the end time from 2:08pm to 2:18pm.

Officials hope this move will allow kids more sleep, and help improve academic performance.

"I think it might be a kind of trickle effect because if they start later, then they’ll get out later and then kids will be going to sports later, and they will be going to their jobs later on, and by the time that is all said and done they’ll be going to bed later," said Laura Dell of Guilford. "So while in theory it sounds great, and i know the research is there, I think kids will be getting just enough sleep as they do now."

In order to accommodate this later start time, passing time between classes will be cut by one minute, and the end of the day will be extended ten minutes.

"There's a domino effect on the middle school and the elementary schools because they use the same buses for all three of those three distinct routes," said Guilford First Selectman, Matt Hoey.

Hoey said the Board of Finance estimated that adding a new route would have costed upwards of half a million dollars. Instead, the middle school will start ten minutes later, and the elementary school will start five minutes later.

"Not everyone is completely happy with what's happened, and that is usually the sign of a pretty good compromise because we have worked at both ends," said Hoey. "There are folks who didn’t want any changes, and there are folks who wanted more dramatic changes

School officials say all new schedules will be updated online and the new bus schedule will come out in August. The First Selectman said the board will reevaluate these changes in the coming years.

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