NORWALK — Traffic studies, new turf fields with lights and child care are a few issues officials are looking to address as they move forward with a potential plan to move to later start times at the high school level.

“The primary focus, at least for me, is this is an overarching health issue,” Board of Education member Bruce Kimmel said. “The health of our students is always No. 1.”

The Board of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee, which Kimmel chairs, had a discussion Tuesday night with Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski and members of the School Start Time Committee about potential concerns that were raised after the committee released its report earlier this month.

The committee recommended earlier this month that the public high school start times be pushed back to 8:30 a.m.

Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo, a member of the committee, said during the presentation at the Sept. 3 Board of Education meeting that 8:30 a.m. “we begin to see as the sweet spot in many respects.”

Sasha Carr, a parent, family sleep coach and member of the School Start Time Committee, said at the Sept. 3 meeting that studies, including those from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, recommend start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and preferably not before 9 a.m.

While advocates for the later time argue that more sleep would allow for better academic performance, higher rates of attendance and less tardiness, as well as a reduction in anxiety, depression, substance abuse and car accidents, opponents said that the later times could affect time for after-school activities, jobs, sports and homework.

Adamowski said members of the committee met with the city’s department of transportation, mobility and parking to look into some of the traffic concerns, particularly around the high schools.

“I’m sure the city would like to have a traffic study and I’m sure it would be beneficial to them in some way but I don’t know if it’s particularly relevant to our purposes here,” he said.

Adamowski said they know Strawberry Hill and Highland Avenue particularly back up with school traffic, so he said he’s not sure what an additional study would be able to tell them. He said he hoped that the earlier start times would allow for more students to take the bus instead of having their parents drive them to school to allow them to have a few extra minutes in bed.

“We think more students would be on the bus and (there would be fewer) parent cars,” Adamowski said. “Traffic is caused by the individual parents driving their children to school.”

The other major concern was the impact later start times would have on students’ after-school activities, sports and jobs.

Adamowski said they would work with the local Chamber of Commerce to make sure its members were aware of the later start times for their potential high school employees.

Joseph Madaffari, the longtime athletic director at Brien McMahon High School, who was on the start times committee, said there might be a conflict on some fields where youth programs typically came onto the fields around 6 p.m. after high school events were over. If those were pushed back, that could cause the programs to bump into each other.

“There could be a problem with that. The city has to give us more turf fields or turf fields with lights,” he said.

Madaffari said the Norwalk and McMahon athletic departments have made adjustments to their schedules in the past for other districts that start later, so he said scheduling can be done.

Greenwich and Wilton have had later start times — Wilton for over a decade, according to Adamowski. He said all of the districts in Fairfield County are looking to potentially move in this direction.

Kimmel said the committee would continue to work with the city to address some of these concerns as the plan moved forward. There will be a public forum with a presentation on Oct. 7, followed by potential Board of Education action later that month. The goal is to get the later start times into effect by the start of the 2020-21 school year.

“We have an overarching health issue we’re resolving,” he said. “Everything else is problems we have to solve. As the world changes, we have to change along with it.”

Staff writer Justin Papp contributed to this story.