Sleep deprived for a traffic-free ride

Students getting picked up by Route 18 to Leesville at 6:16 a.m.. Students may be wondering why they’re awake and up when the sun is clearly not, either. (Photo Courtesy Yazmin Battee)

As new students join the Leesville community, it’s becoming harder and harder to get into the doors before the first bell. Not only is the incoming and outgoing traffic extremely crowded, but buses are being caught in the mix, too.

With the traffic a major issue for students on-time attendance, WCPSS Transportation took the matter into their own hands.

At the beginning of this year, WCPSS Transportation sought out a way to resolve tardiness due to traffic, so they conducted an experiment. Bus drivers informed students after the first week of school that one day, all stops were to be expected 15 minutes earlier than they normally would arrive. This would prove that if busses could beat this nasty traffic, their issue would be partially resolved– and it worked. Bus-riding students were on time because busses were on campus at 6:45, well before carpool and upperclassmen. 

If this small survey is any indication at all of the general morning schedule for a bus rider in high school, that means a lot of students are waking up almost 2 hours before school even starts.

Unfortunately for students, that meant that they had to wake up earlier, and cut their morning routine a little shorter. Fifteen minutes may not seem like much, but when you’re waking up earlier than 5:30 a.m. everyday to catch the bus, every minute of sleep you can manage is savored.

In a survey, 88 students from 3 randomly selected classes were asked what time they woke up to get ready, and what time they left to catch a bus, or catch a car ride.

The following tables below were the results collected.

Bus Riders:          

Alarm time: 1st class 2nd class 3rd class Route time: 1st class 2nd class 3rd class
Before 5 a.m.      1      5       2 Before 6 a.m.      1       1      0
5:00- 5:15 a.m.      3      5       4 6:00- 6:15 a.m.      0       4      1
5:15- 5:30 a.m.      1      2       4 6:15- 6:30 a.m.      1       0      5
5:30- 5:45 a.m.      0       0       2 6:30- 6:45 a.m.      3       4      3
5:45- 6:00 a.m.      3      2       1 6:45- 7:00 a.m.      2       1      0
After 6 a.m.      0      1       1 After 7 a.m.      1       0      0

Car Riders:

Alarm Time: 1st class 2nd class 3rd class Leave Time: 1st class 2nd class 3rd class
Before 5 a.m.      2      0      1 Before 6 a.m.      0      0       0
5:00- 5:15 a.m.      2      2      3 6:00- 6:15 a.m.      0      0       0
5:15- 5:30 a.m.      2      3      0 6:15- 6:30 a.m.      3      3       4
5:30- 5:45 a.m.      2      1     10 6:30- 6:45 a.m.     10      4      10
5:45- 6:00 a.m.      7      2      1 6:45- 7:00 a.m.      2      9       4
After 6 a.m.      7     10      6 After 7 a.m.      4      1       7

69% of students who answered this questionnaire are driven or drive themselves, and the remaining 31% take the bus.

Not only does this show that the most common way to get to school is via private vehicle, but it also shows the drastic difference in the times students have to be awake by.

According to this survey, 41% of students who ride buses have to be up around 5 a.m. in order to catch their bus that comes shortly after 6 a.m.

This survey also shows 54% of the students who identified as car riders are just waking up when students who use the schools transportation have already been at the bus stops.

If this small survey is any indication at all of the general morning schedule for a bus rider in high school, that means a lot of students are waking up almost 2 hours before school even starts.

That may seem logical, being that students need to eat breakfast, prepare, and step on a bus that may have multiple stops before and after their own. However, if studies are showing that students need 8-9 hours of sleep, how logical is it?

Jade Harris, a sophomore at Leesville said, “Once I’ve relaxed and given myself a break from 7 hours of school, I have to get 5 more hours of school done at home. If they want me to get more than 5 hours of sleep, and maintain a healthy life outside of school– I’m definitely not.” Harris speaks for many students in her position.

If schools started later, maybe high school students could catch a bus in daylight, and it wouldn’t be a problem that the bus stops needed to be a little earlier to beat traffic.

As reported by The Atlantic, the amount of sleep that students get affects their academic performance, mental, physical, and social health, or can lead to many things including; obesity, and depression.

With articles like The Atlantic in mind, it’s inconvenient that school systems still encourage high school students to join extracurricular activities, keep up with all homework and get a good night’s rest in the same 24 hour day.

It’s inevitable that students in High School will probably not be in bed by 9:30 p.m., but with schools starting before 7:30 a.m. it doesn’t give students a large window for a healthy amount of sleep.

This issue is something many students would like to see change within schools systems everywhere. Getting caught in traffic for a couple minutes with an excused absence seems like a small price to pay for those 15 extra minutes.

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