By Isabel Hicks & Tomas Palmieri
Nearly three years ago, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 328 which mandated that high schools across California must begin the day no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
Due to the pandemic and lockdown, the bill was postponed until July 1, 2022. While Senate Bill 328 only pushed the start of the school day back by three minutes, the amount of zero period classes has definitely been reduced compared to previous years.
Beginning this school year, only 22 zero period classes are being offered, compared to the 36 classes offered in previous years. The bill has made zero period courses entirely optional, in order to ensure that no student must take a class that early.
However, the total number of classes has not decreased. Instead, they have simply been moved from zero periods to the regular 1-6 period class schedule.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Lab periods for certain AP science classes are still permitted because they are not obligated to meet every day. Other academic programs are also still permitted to have a zero period as well. For example, students who chose the IB program came in with the knowledge that depending on their course, zero period classes would be mandatory. The bill mainly focuses on making sure high school students are not required to start before 8:30 a.m.
Senate Bill 328 has caused disappointment among students this year as they were not able to get the classes they wanted due to the limited availability of zero periods. Some students simply enjoyed ending their day earlier, while others are dropped off early by working parents who now have longer to wait without being able to take a zero period.
“Just to be able to take a zero period, I was forced into an AP Stats class when I had already taken CP Stats last year. There were no other choices,” senior Jojo Rezian said.
The reduction of zero periods has also had an effect on teachers. Due to additional classes being organized into a 1-6 period schedule, there are more space limitations when it comes to classrooms. Many classes are at maximum capacity. Although we have always had teachers who had to rotate classrooms, fewer zero periods means more traveling because there are more classes taking place at the same time.
The motivation for Senate Bill 328 was to combat the issues of sleep deprivation within high schoolers by allowing them more sleep time, in hopes that it will improve student academic performance and productivity. Other states are now following Califonia’s lead.
Although there has been some controversy, schools across the state are already seeing improvements as a result of the bill.
“More students are here on time, I see fewer lines for A5 due to the tardy policy,” Julia Howelman, Administrative Director of the High School said.