Should Schools Switch to a Four-Day Week?


Ben Robinson, Reporter

With many great new and old tribulations and challenges regarding the ceaseless Coronavirus, numerous schools have turned to shorter weeks for students. Kids recently seem to be struggling to find the best way to organize and choreograph their schooling needs. To try to remedy this, some districts have resorted to a four-day school week. This has the potential for financial, intellectual, and personal benefits.

I believe that a four-day week, especially for middle and high schoolers, could be greatly beneficial for everyone involved. I also think that many students would agree with me when I say that we could use an extra day to use for studying, extracurricular activities, or even relaxing. Teachers can use the time to plan for next week’s lessons, professional development, or once again taking a much-needed break. Four-day school weeks have the potential to have an incredibly positive and productive outcome.

Many school districts have already switched to a four-day week and the results are all mostly positive. Despite many districts just trying this method now, it is not a new idea. It has a nearly 50-year history but has only recently been popularized with almost four percent of districts in the country switching to a four-day week. Four percent may not seem like an ample amount, but that is almost six hundred districts that have so far moved to a shorter week. This amount proves that there are benefits to a shorter week.

One obvious and expected advantage of the shorter week is financial benefit. I mean, with one less day of school per week, that should mean cutting costs. And it does! On any given school day, you need to use utilities such as water and electricity, as well as cafeteria expenses and meal costs. So, when you are not at the school using water, electricity, or eating meals, you will be saving money. While the costs that are being saved may only be one or two percent (of original expenses per year), that is actually considerably good, and that money could be used to hire additional help or fund additional programs. While this may save money for schools and districts, it does mean that parents may need to spend money on possible childcare and meals at home. Which may or may not be worth it for parents with young children.

Another interesting yet surprising and unexpected benefit was that many school districts in Colorado (a state popular for its four-day school weeks) noticed that math scores went up for many of the 5th graders. Reading scores, however, did not change. This unexpected outcome surprised researchers who thought that an extra day off would lower scores. If the scores do not go down, then there really is no harm in giving students extra time to themselves.

School districts need to have students in their classrooms for a certain number of hours per year (by law). This means that when you take off an entire school day, the other days of the school week will become longer. With this in mind, many students and even their parents still agree that school should only be four days a week. In fact, if given the choice, 69 percent of parents and 85 percent of students would prefer a four-day week. Maybe kids would try harder in school if they knew they got an extra day off to do homework or just have a personal day. Before any decision that would affect a larger population of districts can be made, more research and study needs to be done. Long-term effects on student intellect are still unknown. Single districts have the power to change the schedule for themselves, but such changes are always put to a vote and who knows whether school board members would be willing to test a four-day school week. In my opinion, a four-day school week is a good opportunity and a wonderful way to help students to overcome the slump they have been put in because of the Coronavirus pandemic.