Middle and high school start times for Florida schools have been changed as the Florida legislature has passed a bill that makes middle schools start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and high schools at 8:30 a.m.
The bill was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in early May and will be implemented on July 1, 2026, a timing that would allow for schools to make changes.
“I’m sure students would enjoy the extra time in the morning to sleep, prepare for school and do whatever they need to do,” freshman Albar Setiawan said. “Of course, it’ll certainly impact bus schedules, after-school activities, personal circumstances and plenty of other things.”
When debating the bill, the main concern was the cost of implementing changes such as transportation. Buses would need to be organized and schedules altered.
“We have a staggered entry in Collier County as we have over 45,000 students, and there are not enough buses to accommodate everyone without doing that,” teacher Deborah Cantor said.
The politicians that introduced the bill have stated that the health of students is the main reason for the bill. Some other concerns are safety and the effects of sleep deprivation on students and its impact on academic performance.
“I feel that it would be better. There are cons, but I feel that waking up this early makes students less focused,” freshman Delilah Garnelo said. “But if they have work, starting at a certain time, they would have less time to get any homework done.”
Lawmakers had both pros and cons to consider when making the decision. By pushing start times forward, school days would end later.
“They could sleep in a little longer, but they will undo that benefit by working later in the evenings and having practices later,” Cantor said.
This bill has the potential to change the waking time of hundreds of thousands of students across Florida.
“With our current time, the sun isn’t out and most kids are asleep before the day even starts,” Setiawan said. “With a later start time, the sun is out and kids can start the day with more energy and focus, at least theoretically.”