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OPINION: A four-day school week is worth a try

By Haylee Sykes Recently, a number of schools in the U.S. have made the move to a four-day-week schedule.

By Haylee Sykes 

Recently, a number of schools in the U.S. have made the move to a four-day-week schedule. In Canada, a pair of schools in the Ottawa-area recently announced a pilot project for a four-day week, but the plan wasn’t approved by the Ministry.

Personally, I think this schedule would be a good idea, for teachers and students alike.

For us high school students, our whole education is focused on preparing us for post-secondary school or an apprenticeship — and a big factor in getting good grades is being awake and attentive in class.

High school students are typically over the age of 14, which means many of us will start getting part-time jobs, which, typically are about four to six hours per shift.

That’s on top of already spending a full six hours at school.

In addition, most of us take on extracurricular activities, so that our applications for college and/or university look appealing for admissions.

And then, we need at least 40-hours of volunteering just to be able to graduate. 

When are we going to study? How do we study effectively when we are so exhausted? When will we ever have the time for ourselves so our mental health doesn’t go downhill?

Simply having that one extra day would give us a breather, extra time to study, and a bit more time to polish those assignments we’ve been struggling to finish. 

Mental health is extremely important for teenagers. During this time, we are just figuring out who we are and why we are who we are.

Our emotions are all in a bundle, and being overworked is the last thing we need — especially for those struggling with mental illness, which can be common at this age. 

As for teachers, they only get time after school and sometimes on their prep, to finish grading. Giving them that one day to finish their work in time, might allow more them time for themselves. 

Some might argue, “They have all summer though!” But marking has to be done as soon as possible.

Sure, teachers may have their own time during the summer, but mental health is important now.

How will anyone work effectively if there is something else on their minds? Everyone's mental health matters from young to adult.

If schools were cut to four days, they would most likely see grades go higher, and maybe even more attentiveness in classes.

The quality of mental health in teenagers might even improve too — but we won’t know until we try it.

Haylee Sykes is a Grade 11 student at Northern Collegiate, completing her co-op placement with The Sarnia Journal.

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