Studies have shown teens are sleep-deprived when reporting for classes as early as 7 a.m. so San Diego Unified School District mandated later high school starting times in the 2020-21 school year. Since this decision, California Senate Bill 328 was signed into law, mandating start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m. (high school) and 8 a.m. (middle schools).
But that will pose a definite problem for 800 students participating in athletic programs at Point Loma High School, which is already hard-pressed finding space and time for teams to fit in needed practice hours.
On Jan. 16, PLHS Principal Hans Becker announced classes next year will begin at 8:45 a.m. This would extend the six-period school day until approximately 2:45 p.m., a time when sunlight is fading during Pacific Standard Time months. Most athletes are in seventh-period physical education, which would make the earliest practice times nearly 3 p.m.
The school fields 27 separate sports with a total of 54 teams when varsity, junior varsity, and freshman groups are totaled.
The school's stadium lights, installed for the 2017 school year, must be turned off by 7:30 every night unless an event lasts beyond that time. Only 18 events may be held per year under a use policy drafted specifically for Point Loma High and approved by the school district.
On other nights, the stadium lights are used for teams to practice. No other area of the campus has such lighting. This could result in teams being unable to find practice space after the new, later dismissal time begins.
One possibility would be to negotiate a later "lights off" time with area neighbors.
Baseball, played on David Wells Field at Dana Middle School, would be greatly affected with no lighting at their facility.
A suggestion to have teams practice before classes begin in the morning is flawed because it would exclude bus-riding students from participation.
Another possibility would be the use of the still-unfinished Correia Middle School Sports Complex, which is lighted for night play.