PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – It’s been a standard for years, but now Pulaski County Public Schools may be headed to a four-day school week.
According to Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers, a four-day instruction week may entail an added hour to the school day, and weeks may run Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday. Teachers may also be required to report to the school on a Friday or Monday of each month for professional development and faculty meetings.
There are currently 560 school districts in 25 states that have at least one school district using a four-day school week as opposed to a traditional five-day school week.
In Virginia Code § 22.1-79.1, individual schools can propose a change of schedule and a board has the authority to approve or deny the change “so long as a minimum of 990 hours of instructional time is provided for grades one through 12 and 540 hours for kindergarten.”
Some of the advantages of a four-day instruction week discussed in the meeting were improved student and employee attendance rates, teacher recruitment and retention, cost-savings in fewer bus routes, the opportunity for students to pursue public service projects and work, and overall cost-savings from .04% to 2.5 percent, according to presentation documents.
Disadvantages of a four-day week include a lack of childcare options for younger students when school is out and fewer meals for low-income students. The presentation cited studies that suggest an increase in juvenile crime during days when school is not in session.
There are currently no school districts in Virginia that have a four-day school week.