2020-2021 School Start Times

On Monday, February 24, 2020, the Ephrata Area School District Board of School Directors approved the proposal to adjust school start times, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.  This decision followed an in-depth, year-long study into the mounting scientific evidence linking sleep deprivation to the growing emotional, physical, and mental health issues among adolescent students.  We believe these changes will contribute to a school experience that sets every student up for success each and every day.

2020-2021 School Year Start and End Times

Building Start Time End Time Student Day Length
Elementary 9:00 AM 3:40 PM 6 hours 40 minutes
Intermediate School 8:55 AM 3:45 PM 6 hours 50 minutes
Middle School 8:05 AM 2:55 PM 6 hours 50 minutes
High School 8:10 AM 3:00 PM 6 hours 50 minutes

 New Start Time Benefits

  1. Provides an opportunity for High School students to get 40 additional minutes of sleep
  2. Provides an opportunity for Middle School students to get 45 additional minutes of sleep
  3. Provides an opportunity for Intermediate School students to get 30 additional minutes of sleep
  4. Maintains approximate current start time for elementary students
  5. Presents a more consistent length of school day across all levels
  6. All schools would start after 8:00
  7. School extra‐curricular practice schedules will not significantly be impacted by dismissal
  8. Elementary and Intermediate School students will continue to be dismissed after secondary students.
  9. District transportation will continue to serve K‐4, 5‐6, and 7‐12 in separate buses.

If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your building principal.



In recent years, there has been increased scientific research related to adolescent sleep.  As a result, a growing number of school districts have made changes to school start times.  Since spring 2019, the Ephrata Area School District has been studying a significant body of research on this topic to ensure school times within the District meet the sleep patterns of our students.  

 The study included the review of research on adolescent sleep patterns and its impact on student performance and well-being.

  • The District has consulted with WellSpan Health to learn from licensed psychologists who have compiled research on school start times and the importance of adolescent sleep.
  • Data from Ephrata Area School District parent and student surveys on sleep habits continue to be reviewed and used as a reference.  A summary of this data is available here.
  • There has been an assessment of the impact of any potential time changes to transportation, athletics, extracurricular activities, food service, and other District operations.
  • Additionally, leaders are learning from others’ experiences as they glean insight from districts who have already adjusted their school times.

Ephrata Area School District leaders continued to explore options while facilitating conversations with stakeholders, including School Board members, teaching staff, and District families, to meet this goal.  A community information session was held on Monday, December 9, and a recommendation to adjust school start times for the 2020-2021 school year was made to the School Board in early 2020.

“This effort represents an additional way that we as a district can look at research about how to best serve our students.  It helps us identify ways to better align District operations to reflect this research and to improve how we serve students,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.

As this study continues and potential next steps are determined, information will be made readily available on the District website or sent directly to parents and guardians as necessary.