What an extra 15 minutes means for EC students

By Logan Castro, Opinion Editor

Starting the 2022-2023 school year, a new law passed by California state legislators requires all high schools in CA to begin school no earlier than 8:30 a.m., which will allow students the required time to sleep. To follow this order, El Camino has pushed their first period start time to 8:30 a.m.

Since 2019, schools in the San Juan Unified School District have rung their dismissal bells five minutes later every year to prepare for this new law to go into effect. But this year, the start time jumped 15 minutes from last year’s, which allowed EC to finally reach a start time of 8:30 a.m. Principal Evelyn Welborn believes that the change hopefully comes with a benefit to the students. 

“When schools used to start at 7:30 [a.m.], I know that students were usually tired or not engaged during the first period. So, the whole point [of the law] is to allow students to get the most learning at the most optimal times of the day,” Welborn said. 

Welborn believes that the new start time will allow students at the beginning of school to already feel ready to work, unless students don’t take advantage of the time change.

“Some people might see it as ‘I have more time to stay up later,’ and not use the time wisely in order to get the sleep that they need,” Welborn said. 

She believes that this might be the case for some students, but is hopeful that most are taking advantage of the change. 

One thing that has been consistent through the time change has been the tardy count. Senior Records and Reports Clerk Ashley Owen explained that she has not seen a documented increase nor decrease in tardies this school year.

“People who had struggles last year getting in, they’re not having the same struggles, but it seems like some students are still struggling to get in,” Owen stated. 

Owen believes that the time shift has brought a new group of students out because of different circumstances. 

Another thing that has been affected is EC’s school breakfast, which now begins at 7:30 a.m.  and ends at the 8:30 a.m. ringing of the bell. Nutrition Service Supervisor Jane Usrey keeps track of how many students come into breakfast every morning and has noticed that there has been an increase in students getting breakfast. 

“The [current] numbers are where they were at their highest last year, and with it being so early in the year, we don’t usually hit our peak until closer to Christmas break,” Usrey stated. 

With the increase in time, students have a better chance at eating a meal in the morning, getting to school on time and getting more sleep to show up refreshed and ready to learn.

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