On May 15, 2023, House Bill 733 (HB733) was passed in Florida.
The bill makes changes to schools’ start times for middle and high schools. According to the bill itself, “the instructional day for middle schools may not begin earlier than 8 a.m. and the instructional day for high schools may not begin earlier than 8:30 a.m.” These new start times will not be in effect until the 2026-2027 academic year.
The bill details that sleep deprivation affects academic performance for high school and middle school students. Pushing back start times allows for students to get more sleep during the school week, improving their academic abilities and overall health.
HB733 is based on research done in 2014 cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found that adolescents and young adults of middle school- high school age have an easier time falling asleep after 11 p.m. and waking up after 8 a.m. The bill aims to adjust insufficient sleep times by not requiring students to be in school at such early hours.
School districts will have until 2026 to determine things like new bus schedules and the funding to carry out the new plan. The bill is effective July 1 of this year but will not require schools to change start times until the 2026-2027 school year.