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Parents concerned over start times impact on after-school activities

University City High School Sign
Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 20:40:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Parents at University City High School say the plan to move back the school's start time is forcing some students to choose between taking a full academic class load and participating in extracurricular activities, particularly athletics.

University City High currently has an optional seventh period of class, which takes place after the end of the regular six-period schedule. That allows athletes to take six classes and use the optional seventh period for a PE elective.

However, with the start time moving back an hour in the fall of 2020, parents say their students are being told that if they wish to participate in sports, they'll need to use the sixth period for PE instead of for an academic class.

RELATED: Late school start times may mean some San Diego elementary schools start earlier

"For students that had an option for six periods of academics, which school is supposed to be about, they're having to make a choice- can I continue with my sport?" said Melanie Marsh, whose daughter plays softball and water polo at University City High. "She will be really brokenhearted if she can't continue to play those sports."

The parents are hoping a solution can be found that will protect the ability to participate in sports without sacrificing a class. They plan on asking San Diego Unified School District to hold off on implementing the later time until details about the impacts can be solved.

The later times will be required by a new state law that takes effect in 2022. The state legislature passed the law after citing research that suggests that the later start time will have a positive impact on students' abilities to learn.

A spokesperson for San Diego Unified told 10News that the new schedules are not set in stone and that the district is working with schools, teachers, parents, coaches, and other stakeholders to create the smoothest possible transition to the new start times.