Opinion: Why not make the four-day week permanent?

The shortened school weeks in January dramatically benefitted my emotional and physical health, and I can not imagine I am alone.


Sarah Klosky

In the month of January, North Allegheny presented three consecutive four-day weeks.

Sarah Klosky, Staff Writers

North Allegheny started the 2023 school year right, by gifting the student body three consecutive four-day weeks. For me, however, this month was more than a gift. It was eye-opening.

For the majority of my 2022 junior year, I was exhausted and felt like I was just going through the motions each school day. Accomplishing the bare minimum — my assignments and my attendance — I reached what I would consider to be a record-low for myself, in comparison to the high achiever I know I can be. 

Needless to say, junior year has been the toughest year for me, especially because the academics are more difficult than ever to keep up with. With my priorities piling above what seemed to be manageable, I was ready for this school year to end by mid-October. 

When the end of December came, I was relieved. I could barely recognize who I was any longer, drained by my academic and extracurricular commitments. I was ready for a reboot.

Little did I expect, January would bring about a new mindset.

The back-to-back four-day weeks this month have sparked a change within me. They invited an improved perspective into my life. Ever since the end of winter break, I have found motivation to surpass my goals, rather than barely reach them. 

Ironically, the shorter weeks have seen me do better in school than I did during the entirety of 2022. My second-quarter grades were a dramatic improvement in comparison to the first semester. The consecutive four-day weeks have not just dramatically improved my grades but also my mental and physical health.

Getting only 15-20 hours of sleep during a regular school week (which is not uncommon for teens across the country), I noticed a stark difference when the four-day weeks arrived. I had a dramatic increase in my energy and was much more optimistic to do my class work. 

In addition, I experienced a streak of promptness to school throughout the month, buying myself a few minutes in my first period before the 7:23 AM bell. This is something I could barely manage in a regular school week when the tardies amassed.

While I had more opportunities to rest during the past few weeks, I also had more time to complete my assignments and study for challenging tests. In this time period, I was able to discover better study habits for myself, and they were proven to work in my favor when I received my test grades. 

I have never felt more alive this school year than I do now. It was an eye-opening experience to see how my health improved, while also revealing how five-day school weeks have been a major culprit in my declining stamina and increasing bad habits.

The consecutive four-day weeks have not just dramatically improved my grades but also my mental and physical health.

In a podcast interview by Plain English, my personal revelation is validated. 

The non-profit organization, 4-Day Week Global, launched a survey amongst 33 different companies (white-collar) with about 900 workers. They received five days of pay for only four days of work with the same number of hours.  This trial was done in the U.S and included parts of Ireland. 

After the trial concluded six months later, researchers found that 97% of those employees did not want to return to five-day work weeks. Their employers also rated this overall experience a 9/10.

The workers were found to be less stressed and fatigued after the experiment in comparison to before it started. 

Juliet Schor, economist at Boston College, reveals in the podcast that she was surprised to find that “productivity went up before 20% due to the reorganization that occurred in that time, according to self surveys given to individual workers.” 

I believe that the way I was able to thrive in a four-day school week did not happen by coincidence. It proved that an efficient, functioning mind requires adequate rest, which is easier to achieve in a shortened week.

And if the corporate world is finding that a four-day work week improves both morale and productivity, isn’t it time that schools catch on?


Editors’ note: All opinions expressed on The Uproar are a reflection solely of the beliefs of the bylined author and not the journalism program at NASH.  We continue to welcome school-appropriate comments and guest articles.