New Start Times For 2022-23 School Year

Posted by Mike Swize, Ed.D. on 4/4/2022 9:00:00 AM

I hope all of you are doing well and making plans for a wonderful spring break April 11-22. I wanted to take a moment to thank all of your students, staff, and families for an exceptionally smooth transition to optional masks a few weeks ago. I am so proud of how respectful everyone has been to one another and the choices they have made and continue to make as we move from a pandemic to what is anticipated to be an endemic around COVID-19. Our entire PSUSD family has moved into this phase with the same maturity, empathy, and respect for one another as you all have throughout this entire extremely challenging time, and our Board of Education and administration could not be more grateful for the continued support. It appears that this virus will likely not leave us entirely but instead will be something that we manage much in the way we do the annual flu. That is why both health and education officials continue to strongly encourage vaccinations and boosters to ensure the health and safety of all of our students, staff, and families.

You may have heard that SB328 that was signed into law in 2019 will go into effect beginning in the 2022-23 school year. This law will make California the first state in the country to require a later start time for middle and high school students and requires that districts begin the school day no earlier than 8 a.m. for middle school students and 8:30 a.m. for high school students. Beginning with the start of the 2022-23 school year on August 10, start times will change for most PSUSD students. In order to maintain current levels of bus transportation, it is necessary to revise start times for elementary students as well. One hour of separation is essential between middle/high and elementary bus routes to avoid doubling runs and maintain on-time services to and from our schools.

Except for Wednesdays, middle and high schools will start at 8:45 a.m., and elementary will start at 7:45 a.m. Cielo Vista Charter will begin at 8 a.m. On Wednesdays, high schools will continue with current late start practice, middle schools will either start late or release early (to be determined), and elementary will start at 7:45 a.m. with early release on Wednesday. “Zero” periods at the high school level will still be in place. Parents will be notified directly from their school sites on schedule changes prior to the start of the school year.

The intent of the new legislation is for high school students to be able to get an extra hour of needed sleep, which, in turn, can improve physical and mental health and improve academic achievement. We, along with legislators and educators across the state, will monitor and review the effects of the changes during the next school year to inform future decisions around scheduling.

On a separate topic, I am happy to announce that we are resuming “Mornings with Mike” later this month. We had our first one in Palm Springs last fall before the COVID surge and our decision to pause the activity in an abundance of caution. The next opportunity for you to stop by to chat with me about anything on your mind, bring concerns or feedback or just say hello will be on April 26 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in Desert Hot Springs (location to be announced soon). Please watch our social media and your email for more details and location. Another “Mornings with Mike” will be held on May 17 in Cathedral City.

Thank you, as always, for your steadfast support and cooperation. Our PSUSD family, which includes all of you, is truly THE BEST!

See you next month,

Mike Swize, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools