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An Ohio school district switches to a 4-day school week to reduce burnout for teachers

'I think we’ve reinvigorated the teachers, reenergize the teachers, they’re 100% on board,' said a superintendent in Ohio.

An Ohio school district switches to a 4-day school week to reduce burnout for teachers
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Arthur Krijgsman

Many companies have now implemented a 4-day work week. Now even schools are considering it. A superintendent in Ohio is ready to see it through, but his concern is not just the kid's burnout. He is also concerned about the teachers. "You walk through the buildings and you can just see it in our eyes how tired they are," Blalock, who oversees North College Hill City School District, told TODAY's, Jenna Bush Hager.



Jenna was a teacher before joining TODAY and can empathize with the situation. "I know from my time in the classroom that it is not a 9-to-5. Teachers are spending hours in the afternoon planning (and) collaborating," she says. "It is all-consuming." Blalock agreed, "If teachers don’t have ample time to do that, then they struggle, and it’s almost like being on a hamster wheel; you just keep going going going and you never get a chance to get off and take a breath," he says. "I think that it’s a dying profession."



"We know our teachers are underpaid and undervalued," the superintendent said, reported USA TODAY. "We've assumed for the past 200 or 300 years that this is how education is. The pandemic showed us we can do things differently. It was not about saving money, it was more about saving teachers and saving the profession and doing something different to help students," he said.



"Teachers didn’t sign up to be police officers and security guards," he said. "Those are all things that play on the stress level." Therefore, he has switched the schools of the entire district to a 4-day work week. From August onwards, students will attend school Tuesday through Friday in person, and Mondays will be for self-guided work at home. Whereas, teachers will spend Mondays student-free at school to catch up on lesson planning, reports USA TODAY.



"If we really dig deep, this is about student achievement," Blalock says. "If our teachers aren’t 100%, our students won’t get what they truly need and deserve." The new schedule will begin in August and provisions will also be made to assist parents with childcare needs. "I was so happy, I was like, 'Yes, this is what we need'," student Heaven Champion says of the new schedule. "It gives students more time to breathe, relax (and) kind of take a mental break."

Pexels | Photo by Dids
Pexels | Photo by Dids


North College Hill City Schools is not the first one to do this. More than 850 school districts nationwide are now on a four-day school schedule. This decision is part of a growing demand for shorter school weeks across the country. Brookings Institute research shows they have grown in popularity over the past two decades. An analysis published just before the pandemic found at least 662 districts across two dozen states with four-day weeks. There has been debate on the issue. As some argue students need more time in school to compensate for the time lost in the pandemic, and others argue that the new plan is the right solution for both teachers and students. "I think we’ve reinvigorated the teachers, reenergize the teachers, they’re 100% on board," Blalock says. "It might change the game completely."



Many teachers and students are appreciating this move as it will contribute to the better mental and emotional health of teachers and students.

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