To the Editor:

I learned something at last week’s parent focus group: Asking the community to weigh in on healthy start times without the appropriate information — cost, logistics, science — has created anxiety and confusion. Most everyone in my group was in support of healthy start times. We all wanted to better understand the process and what the final result will look like.

I learned that Ridgefield parents are united in the desire for an environment where kids are their best selves. Where they are happier and more cooperative at home and at school because they get adequate sleep. We all want healthier kids with fewer athletic injuries. Kids who complete their homework in less time because their sleep is aligned with their natural biorhythms. Kids who aren’t turning to coffee, Mountain Dew, and other stimulants to stay awake. Kids who are exercising better judgment and taking fewer unhealthy risks because they are well rested. Kids who are less likely to turn to alcohol and drugs for stress relief and coping. We all want these things and it is one of the reasons Ridgefield is so great.

To Dr. Baldwin and the BOE: You first introduced the idea of healthy start times years ago. You have read the science and concluded that healthy start times are in the best interest of the students. The results of the busing/logistics study were to be completed in February. Please share the details of your findings and initiate a comprehensive community education program to promote understanding, allay fears, and rally this amazing community toward a common cause … the well-being our children.

Pam Hartnett MPH, RD