Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, hundreds of school districts in the United States have introduced a four-day week to fight the teacher shortage and enhance the quality of life for students and teachers.
About 850 school districts nationwide have adopted this practice, and many are reaping the advantages of a more extended break. Typically, students and instructors are given the weekend off on Friday or Monday, with the other school days extended by a few hours.
Smaller localities, such as rural school districts, having trouble attracting and retaining teachers, have turned to the four-day week as a solution. Teachers would appreciate having an extra day off to spend with their families and catch up on grading and lesson preparations. Furthermore, by decreasing the number of days, parents will have shorter journeys to and from their children’s schools for school-related activities.
The tiny, private Bishop McCort Catholic High School in rural Pennsylvania has been considering switching to a four-day school week for the last year and a half, and this year, they made the switch.
According to the principal, Thomas Smith, most parents approved the decision, and one of the main reasons for it was to prevent the possibility of a teacher shortage. Bishop McCort provides alternative learning options for pupils on snow days and pays instructors to be there.
They attribute much of their success to the improvement in their teaching method. Concerns about the effects of cutting a school day persist, though, particularly among working parents who may have trouble finding child care and providing enough nutrition for their children.
Students who must be in school for a certain number of hours each day may be negatively impacted by the longer school days. Some worry that kids’ attention spans may suffer from extended school days, especially for younger kids. The academic impact of a four-day week on pupils remains to be seen, especially given the lack of data on the topic.