A Texas school district will adopt a 4-day school week for students during the upcoming school year, citing teacher burnout and shortages in part during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Jasper Independent School District, located in eastern Texas, confirmed last month that they will switch to the 4-day model during the 2022-2023 school year.
The district shared on Facebook that the calendar will satisfy the 75,600 minutes required for students during a school year in Texas. Teachers on Fridays will have professional development and other resources “without missing class time,” the district said.
“Retaining and recruiting quality teachers is very important to all school districts during a nationwide teacher shortage and the board of trustees is working diligently for our JISD staff,” the district shared on Facebook.
John Seybold, JISD superintendent, told “Good Morning America” that “teacher burnout has been an issue for a long time, but since COVID, it has seemed to expand, and it’s becoming more and more of an issue.”
“The four-day week kind of makes it a little more manageable for them because there’s so much pressure placed on our teachers,” he said.
“As a school district, ultimately the best thing we can do for kids is put the best possible teacher in front of them every day,” he added.
USA TODAY has reached out to the district for additional information.
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The district on Facebook also said a survey of teachers in the school district found that 84% were “in favor of a 4-day week.” Another survey emailed to parents and staff and on the district’s social media pages found 64% supported a 4-day week.
According to an academic calendar on the district’s site, the 4-day week would begin in October and continue through the end of April, with the school year starting with standard 5-day weeks in August.
Seybold also confirmed that the school district is working with an area food bank to ensure that all students have food to cover the longer weekends.
School districts across the country have faced a shortage of teachers, bus drivers and other school staff during the coronavirus pandemic. The National Education Association in February said there are 567,000 fewer educators in public schools than there were before the pandemic.
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