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TUSD preparing for later start times

Turlock Unified School District middle and high school campuses will have to adjust to later start times beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. This change in school schedule is courtesy of a California law passed in 2019 that requires middle schools to start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Experts in favor of the law argued that later school times could improve student health, boost graduation rates and save the school system billions of dollars.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2018 as teachers and school boards called to make bell schedules a local decision. But state legislators tried again a year later, citing additional research that showed teens are healthier mentally and physically, and perform better in the classroom when school starts later and they are able to get 8-10 hours of sleep.

Opponents of the bill said the later start times place a burden on parents to change work schedules, affect busing and impact after-school activities.

TUSD recently started discussing how to implement the law and are planning to make these changes a reality before school starts in August 2022.

This change is going to effect multiple sectors of the district, with transportation being one of the most prominent.

“Numerous factors must be considered with transportation taking a key role. TUSD’s Transportation Department is evaluating bus routes and staffing to determine how the changes in secondary times may potentially impact elementary school start times, as well,” said chief communication coordinator Marie Russell.

To provide students, parents and staff enough time to plan for the changes, the district will communicate 2022-23 school start times through school notifications, websites and social media.