4-Day School Week


What classrooms would look like on wednesday if we had our way. Photo Credit: Carter Carling

Why is the school week 5 days long? I don’t know about you, but I don’t do much on Fridays. I would much rather have a Wednesday off and have every other day be a little longer. There are many benefits of a 4-day school week. One major benefit is improved mental health, students would get a break in the middle of the week to get homework done.

What are the pros and cons? Some pros include better mental health, more time for teachers to work on grades, and letting schools save money. If students have a day off in the middle of the week, they have more time to relax, and not get overwhelmed by school. Teachers would have a whole extra day to work on grades. Schools would be able to save money by not having to operate the school for one less day a week. A few of the cons would be you can’t fit as many lessons in 4 days and holiday breaks will be shorter. In order to account for the missing day, the school day would likely have to be extended by an hour each day. And as a result of having one less day a week, holiday breaks would have to be shorter to ensure summer starts on time. This all sounds good, but some students might abuse this by using the time to do something illegal since everyone would be at work.

What are the mental health effects of having a 5-day school week? A study posted on NIH.gov about “Adolescent Health Behaviors in Schools with 4- Versus 5-Day School Weeks” has researched this topic extensively. This is what they found: “A 4-day school week was associated with several positive health outcomes (improved student engagement, decreased substance use behaviors, decreased non-school screen time, and increased physical activity) as well as several negative health outcomes (increased bullying, increased sexual activity, and decreased sleep and breakfast consumption).” From this information, it is clear that a 4-day school week isn’t perfect, but neither is our current system.

I asked a few Bingham students for their opinions. Mikenzie McIntyre said, “I think [having Wednesdays off] could be a good idea. Everyone dreads Mondays; that’s just a given. Knowing that they technically only have two days of school until a short break, I feel like it might reduce stress, people can catch up on sleep, and everything that falls under that category. Plus, on Thursday and Friday everyone might be well rested and more productive when they come back.” She also brought up a very good point, she said, “Also, having the one hour classes on Fridays, it kind of messes with the teachers and how they plan out their class so one isn’t too far ahead or behind,” and I think that is a very good point. I feel teachers would heavily support this idea for that reason alone.

Photo Credit: Carter Carling

Another student, Gracie Clark, said, “I think [having Wednesdays off] should be a thing. I hate having to get up on Wednesdays, they are such a drag.” I think most students would agree with this, having a day off in the middle of the week would be amazing. Students get to have a break and catch up on life. Many students aren’t able to do anything throughout the week because they’re at school all week. If we had no school on Wednesdays, students would be able to work then.

Shorter school weeks have many benefits, including better mental health, more time for planning, and schools saving money! Of course, there are many cons too: more bullying, students get less sleep, and students eat breakfast less. Even though the school day would likely be longer and holiday breaks would be shorter, I think many students and teachers can agree that the pros outweigh the cons.