New Bell Schedule: Student Perspectives

Anand Ashar and Norman Chow

In 2019, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill prohibiting high schools from starting classes before 8:30 a.m. This ruling has significantly changed FUHSD’s bell schedule for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.

With school beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, traditionally days with 8 a.m. start times, school will end 25 minutes later at 3:50 p.m. The news of this change has led to unanimous disapproval among both students and staff. Ms. Amick, Cupertino High School’s college and career advisor, relayed that the new schedule would delay after-school activities. Richita Varshney, a junior at Cupertino High School, also expressed the sentiment of most students. Said Varshney, “The mornings are definitely more productive. It’s already challenging to focus in the afternoon, and ending later will simply exasperate the issue.”

With school starting and ending around half an hour later, one may expect the schedule to be similar to past years; however, the Fremont Union High School district has utilized this opportunity to adapt the schedule to reflect the concerns that students and staff have voiced this year and limit the undesirable effects the schedule may have on the Cupertino community.

Students and teachers are relieved by the return of all classes on Mondays instead of Wednesdays. Attending all classes on Wednesdays often burdens students with multiple tests and only a single night to do homework for classes on Thursday. With the shift to Monday, students will have the weekend for homework and studying.

While the new bill permits the traditional Tuesday and Friday late start days at 9 a.m., FUHSD has chosen to commence each day at 8:30 a.m., ensuing on Wednesday and Friday, concluding at 3:05 p.m. While the district aimed to minimize the impact of the ruling by providing two days of early release for after-school activities, students largely disapproved of the plans. Like Everest Buchner, a junior at Cupertino High, many students find it “refreshing” to start at 9 a.m. Said Buchner, “It’s a treat to sleep-in in the morning after two consecutive early starts.” Other students, including a junior sports player, appreciate the move but disapprove. He said, “Many sports meet more than two times a week and coordination for activities and games with different school ending times becomes difficult.”

Students have long lamented about Cupertino’s late 1:05 p.m. starting lunchtime. Next year, on most days, lunch will begin 25 minutes later at 1:25 p.m. and end at 2:10 p.m. While FUHSD has attempted to curb this issue by having an early lunch at 12:45 p.m. two days a week, many students illuminated the resulting difficulty in coordination for activities, especially ones with constituents outside of school.

Overall, the overwhelming majority of students and staff at Cupertino dislike the changes next fall. Most students are unable to understand the bill’s goal of supporting students to obtain the required eight to 10 hours of sleep as school hours have not been reduced. Furthermore, while FUHSD claims that the schedule reflects several months of input from students, Cupertino’s student body strongly disapproves of these changes as they find the varying times for lunch and closure difficult to coordinate.