California is now the first state to mandate later start times for public high schools and middle schools.
The newly signed legislation was among several bills that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Sunday.
The new law mandates that California high schools would be restricted from starting the school day before 8:30 a.m. and middle schools would not be able to start class before 8 a.m. beginning with the 2022-23 school year.
While some support the change, it’s teachers and school districts who opposed the law on the basis that local officials should be the ones to decide the best times to start classes across the state.
The bill’s author, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, said Newsom’s signature “put our children’s health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change,” and added, “Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier.”
The bill will not affect the optional early classes, which are known as “zero periods,” that are offered by some schools. Some of the state’s rural districts will also not be affected by the change.