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Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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Many high school students in Gilroy will start classes slightly later beginning in the fall due to a new state law.

Senate Bill 328, authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino, requires middle schools and high schools to begin no earlier than 8am and 8:30am, respectively. Signed into law in 2019, it took effect July 1.

First period at Gilroy and Christopher high schools will shift a half-hour later to 8:30am, while classes will begin at 8:35am at Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy. 

Schedules will remain the same at Mount Madonna High School as well as all district middle schools, according to GUSD spokesperson Melanie Corona, as classes begin at 8:30am.

GUSD announced the changes on its social media pages last week.

“Principals will notify their students as they ramp up communications to their students and families closer to the start of the school year,” Corona said. “Bell schedules are posted on the websites too and will be featured on the GUSD Back to School hub launching soon.”

In writing the law, Portantino said that he was “responding to the overwhelming science behind later school start times” that followed decades of research.

The law was the first of its kind in the U.S.

The bill was opposed by the California Teachers Association, which said the new start times could impact working parents who do not have the ability to drop off their children later in the morning, and possibly push after-school activities further in the day.

GUSD’s first day of school is Aug. 17.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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