Representative Jill Cooper Advocates for Healthier School Start Times

Bell Township, PAState Representative Jill Cooper has taken a significant step towards improving the health and academic performance of Pennsylvania’s youth. She is introducing House Bill 1848, which proposes a shift to later start times for public secondary schools.

Addressing Adolescent Sleep Deprivation

“Sleep Deprivation in Adolescents: A Case for Delaying Secondary School Start Times,” a report released by the Joint State Government Commission in 2019, serves as the foundation for this bill. Cooper’s memorandum vividly highlights this issue: “There is a consensus in the medical community that a public health crisis exists in the form of an epidemic of chronic sleep loss and daytime sleepiness in adolescents.”

National Health Objectives and Expert Recommendations

Representative Cooper cites important recommendations in her memo, “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that adolescents, 13 to 18 years of age, receive 8-10 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.” These guidelines are echoed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Proposed Legislation for Healthier Start Times

House Bill 1848 aims to start the instructional day for public secondary schools no earlier than 8:15 a.m., beginning with the 2026-2027 school year. Cooper emphasizes, “It would require each governing board of a public school entity to inform its school community about the health and academic impacts of sleep deprivation on secondary school students and the benefits of a later school start time.”

Bell Township and Broader Community Impact

This legislation holds the promise of enhanced academic performance and better health for students in Bell Township and across Pennsylvania. Cooper invites her colleagues to support this vital initiative, stating, “Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.”