A Four-Day School Week


Brandon Chan, Staff Writer

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has overtaken the country, I think an interesting question remains. If school returns, why should AUSD switch to a four-day school week when five days has seemingly worked all this time? Is a four-day school week that much better for students, teachers, and parents alike? Personally, I feel there are many more benefits than disadvantages that come with a shorter school week.

First, four days of school means more freedom and flexibility in everyone’s schedules. With this extra day of freedom, most likely being a Friday, students are able to catch up on their school work or extracurricular activities. If these students are diligent and finish their studying for the week, they can hang out with their friends and family instead. It is important to socialize with others to keep one’s sanity. This would make more time to have fun, as nowadays, there isn’t much time for any of that. For some students who have part-time or full-time jobs, they would have more hours on the weekdays to work, making for a much more flexible schedule. Many students across the U.S. are sleep deprived because of the amount of work that piles on throughout the school year. In essence, this extra day allows students to take advantage of this newfound time to do as they wish. 

Some facts even say a four-day school week is beneficial. Cutting off one day of the school week saves money. According to the National Commission of State Legislatures (NCSL), on average, savings range from 0.4% to 2.5% of a district’s overall budget. That might seem like a small amount, but 2.5% of a $10 million budget is still $250,000 that can be funded elsewhere.

Furthermore, a 2015 study in a Colorado school district showed improved math scores for students attending a four-day week of school.

The researchers of this study reported that “there is little evidence that moving to a four-day week compromises student academic achievement.” 

People may be naysayers and say, “That means the school days will be longer.” Well, assuming we eventually go back to regular school hours and in-person learning, every school day is seven hours long. Multiply seven hours by five school days, and that equals thirty-five school hours a week. Divide thirty-five school hours by four school days. This equals eight hours and forty-five minutes of schooling every day. That means each class period will be about seventeen minutes longer. I say that trade-off is most definitely worth it for an extra day of rest. 

Others may say that getting out of school later will be more difficult for parents to pick up their children. However, if school ends at 4:45 p.m., which is around the time most parents start getting off work, it will enable them to make one stop on the way home and pick their children up right away. This convenience may actually benefit some families. Moreover, as for teachers, I believe that this extra day will allow them to take the time to grade papers or relax and create a schedule for the upcoming week. One potential problem to this new bell schedule would be students who play sports, as practices often run after school. I think that for sports, they should practice a little less on school days, but on the day off, make up those lost minutes (so essentially a longer practice on the new free day). 

Overall, I believe that this idea is not as far-fetched as it seems, as other schools around the country such as Oregon, Montana, Oklahoma, and Colorado have more than 20% of their districts on a four-day school week. Additionally, I think most students would be on board with this idea, making it a happier environment for all. 


Graphic courtesy of FREEPIK.COM