State should consider allowing four-day week

Day off would bring freedom, stress-relief


Danny Shope

High school is exhausting. There is only so much you can do in 24 hours — and our schedules are jam-packed with school, sports, work, clubs and everything else under the sun. It shows, too: across the country, teens are reporting that they feel stressed out and overwhelmed. School is meant to make us more knowledgeable and imaginative. Ironically, though, stress caused by too much schoolwork is sure to have a negative impact on our ability to retain information and be creative. The state should consider reducing the number of required instructional school days. This would allow the district to reduce stress and increase overall productivity and balance with a four-day week.

During the pandemic-ridden 2020-21 school year, Wednesdays each week were an “asynchronous day”. Given the stress of the pandemic, this day off in the middle of the week gave me room to breathe. Even in a relatively normal school year, it can have similar benefits for student well-being.

We can all agree that days off of school over the weekend are the best. Time to catch up on homework, hang out with friends and relax for a little bit — a perfect recipe for stress relief. An additional off-day in the middle of the week would give students a much-needed chance to keep up with everything high school is throwing at them. Not only would it give us more time to complete our assigned homework, it would also be a chance to dive deeper into subjects we are interested in, and explore interests outside of school.

In reality, it’s true that many students would just spend a day off of school relaxing and goofing off with friends — but is that really such a big problem? It’s well known that social interaction is essential for mental well-being, and even activities like video games have been linked to significant mental health benefits. Even if students wouldn’t always be academically productive during their time off, having extra opportunities to do things we enjoy is exactly what we need to have more balanced lives. 

Extra time off during the week would also open a lot of doors in terms of extracurricular activities. With the current school schedule, it is virtually impossible to participate in a club at the same time as a sport. Both are time consuming, and often meet at similar times. With another day off, clubs would have an opportunity to meet without conflicting with sports or school. Many students would be able to explore their interests with clubs that already exist, and some may end up forming new clubs given a good time to do so. 

Most importantly, a day off would grant high schoolers some much-needed freedom. With college and real life just around the corner, we need to learn how to manage our time effectively for ourselves. Having a day off without teachers telling us exactly how to use it would give us the chance to figure out what works best for us in terms of time-management.

The decision to move to a four-day week would come with some problems, and it would impact different students in different ways. Still, there are ways to work around these challenges and make a plan that is good for all high schoolers. Currently, state law requires 165 days of instruction. With so many possible benefits of taking a day off the school week, however, the state legislature should seriously consider reducing this number to allow for a four-day week.