Skip to main content

Chester County Press

U-CF superintendent John Sanville addresses later school start times

04/26/2017 10:25AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

On April 25, the day after the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board voted to accept the school district's recommendation for a later school start time, district superintendent John Sanville sent a letter to families that addressed the issue.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the middle school and high school student day will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 2:43 p.m. The elementary student day will begin at 9:10 a.m. and end at 3:40 p.m.

Providing some background on the later start time, Sanville wrote, “Four years ago, students from Unionville High School approached our board and administration, lobbying for a later start time. They cited the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Sleep Foundation (NSF), American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – all of whom acknowledge that later school start times lead to increased performance, health, and brain development in teens. Our students argued that the science was on their side.

“Indeed, research shows there are many benefits from later school start times, including decreases in teen depression, car crashes, behavior problems, discipline referrals, absenteeism, and tardiness,” Sanville wrote. “Given our students’ compelling argument, the U-CF School Board asked the administration to form a committee and conduct an exhaustive review of our school start times. The committee found that -- though not without challenges -- the benefits to student health and well-being were difficult to ignore.

“Finally, I commend the work of the members of the School Start Time Committee and the members of the U-CF Board. The committee and board diligently listened to competing points of view and made a decision that is in the best interest of our children,” Sanville wrote.

In a list of questions families may have, Sanville cited:

How will the district go about implementing this change -- is there a central contact person?

The new school start times will impact all of us. A change of this scope requires much planning and coordination. A team has been brought together under John Nolen’s leadership to address and coordinate schedule changes.

A permanent list of schedule changes and FAQs will be updated and available on The School Start Time website. The communications team is here to help. Please forward your questions to

What time is bus pick up in the morning? Drop off in the afternoon?

Bus pick-up times vary by location. As has been our practice, finalized bus pickup and drop off times will be provided to families over the summer. It is reasonable to expect Middle School and High School pickup and drop off times to be 25 minutes later. You can expect elementary school pickup and drop off times to be 15 minutes later.

What time is the building open for child drop off?

Elementary drop off times will remain as today, 8:40 a.m. We are working on opportunities for a 8:30 a.m. drop off.

Middle School drop off time will shift to 7:25. We are exploring a fee based Y-Care option for earlier drop off times at the middle school.

The current before school activities practices for the high school will remain in effect, with students working directly with teachers and advisors.

How does this change impact Y-Care at the elementary schools?

Y- Care will be available starting at 7 a.m., and after school care will be available until 6 p.m. in the evening.

How will this change impact the timing of athletics?

We are investigating our options to limit the number of early dismissals so as to reduce the impact of students missing instructional time last period for athletic events. This will be a primary goal of the newly approved Supervisor of Athletics.

As today, practice times will continue to be after the academic day is concluded.

How will this change impact other after school activities?

In general, all after school activities will continue as they do now, to begin after the conclusion of the academic day. This applies to clubs, activities and facilities such as the libraries and cafeterias.

Will there still be an after school activities bus?

Yes, it will run 25 minutes later – at 5:25 p.m.

Updated information will be shared on the district's website,

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline