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London’s public school board approves pilot project giving students extra hour of sleep

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Some high school students in the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) are going to get the chance to sleep a little longer in the future.

Trustees approved a pilot project last week to push back class start times by one hour. Most high schools in the board start classes just after 8 a.m.

READ MORE: Pilot project may give high school students an extra hour of sleep

Trustee Sheri Polhill spoke in support of the project during the board meeting, arguing there’s mounting evidence it would be beneficial. She also cited plus personal experience.

“Having two teenagers myself, I can tell you that the amount of work that comes with high school, the lack of sleep that comes with that too, this might be just the perfect solution, it might increase our student achievement, and the only way to know is to approve the money and give it a pilot,” she said.

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Trustee Graham Hart also threw his support behind the initiative.

“Particularly, the issues in Oxford and Woodstock with regard to suicides this part year, one of the themes that really came out was tiredness and lack of sleep, and if you follow that up with the issue of motor vehicle accidents among teenagers and young people, tiredness and lack of sleep is a significant part,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘Suicide contagion’ feared in Woodstock, Ont., after string of youth suicides

The TVDSB allotted $25,000 for the pilot in its draft budget to cover the cost of busing changes and a study to look at the effects of the later start time.

The project may not take effect until the winter or fall of 2018.

The board is currently searching for schools willing to take part in the project.

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