Health Secretary Supports School Starting Time Study

Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

As reported by WBAL TV, a letter from Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the State’s Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, addressed to House and Senate leaders indicates he’d be willing to lead a study on the school start issues, if the bill passes.  The bill, HB 883 Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Study of Safe and Healthy School Hours for Maryland Public Schools has passed the House, but it has remained in Senate committee since crossing over.  Changes to school start times could affect education costs, particularly transportation expenditures.

As described by WBAL, supporters of the bill hope that the letter from the Secretary will help move it forward,

“This letter allows us to move forward on the issue, I hope,” said Sen. Edward Reilly, R-Anne Arundel County. Reilly said he believes this could be a positive development.

“There’s new scientific information and that’s what we need to glean out of this study. What do the scientists tell us?” Reilly said. “The average child, when should they be asleep? How many hours should they sleep? When should they show up in the classroom?”

Last year’s bill, HB 1462 Task Force to Study a Later Starting Time for Maryland Public Schools, received an unfavorable report from the same Senate committee. For more information, see the full story from WBAL, the bill information page, and our previous post on Conduit Street, House Approves Studying Earlier School Start Times.