Later start times at the high school remains a hot topic among the Board of Education, school administrators, and Ridgefield parents.

Over the last few weeks, the board’s Strategic Planning Subcommittee has been conducting focus groups, led by board member James Keidel and Chairwoman Fran Walton, that have asked parents, teachers, and school leaders how later start times would impact them.

Next week, two more focus groups — specifically for parents — will be taking place, on Monday, April 17, and Tuesday, April 18.

“We will take all the responses and code them after the final parent group,” said Walton.

Once the board has a better idea of general attitudes and concerns surrounding later start times, it can start to come up with a plan of action as to what would be the best way to implement them — if at all — for the 2018-19 school year, Walton said.

Other board members are taking additional steps in learning about the issue.

Walton told The Press Monday, April 10, that board member Margaret Stamatis might attend the national conference in Washington, D.C., on adolescent sleep, health, and school start times being held Thursday, April 27, and Friday, April 28.

According to an event press release, the overarching goal of this “first-of-its-kind conference” is to provide a forum for all interested parties across the country to come together and discuss why healthy school start times are important to the health of adolescents, and how school districts can successfully make the change.