For most, Mondays are an expectedly lousy day of the week. Heart attack rates peak, it’s the furthest day from the anticipated start of the weekend and stress levels are at an all-time high as we prepare for a busy work week.
For us parents, this dreaded day also means a return to the busy back-to-school grind. Children are crabby as they crawl out of bed and rush out the door, and parents lose their patience as they pack lunches, and hurry to school drop-off before it’s time to punch the clock.
Mondays have forever had a bad rap, so it’s not surprising that some schools have opted out of the first day of the week altogether.
In Colorado, a school district has recently decided to cancel school on Mondays, in favour of a four-day school week. Citing cost cuts as the main reason, the district anticipates a savings of nearly a million dollars in the first year of the new school schedule, and officials believe that the new shortened week will help to retain teachers who have complained of low wages and minimal school funding.
And it’s not just Colorado that is taking on this new timetable. The four-day school week has actually become the norm in several rural communities across Canada as well.
In Saskatchewan, all but four of the 39 schools in the Prairie South School Division have adopted this alternate calendar, with a goal of reducing lengthy bus rides for children, noted as a main concern associated with the full school week.
During the 2001-2002 school year, the Boundary School District in B.C. decided to give the four-day school week a try, in an effort to avoid several potential school closures in the area. Salt Spring Island currently has schools that are in session from Mondays to Thursdays, with slightly longer school days.
In Fort McMurray and the B.C. Coastal Mountains region, the shorter week was considered as well, but the idea was eventually rejected.
With the news of more school districts taking on the four-day school week, many parents here in B.C. have pondered the idea as well - several suggesting on social media that we consider the same schedule here in the Lower Mainland.
While I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to nix Mondays en masse, I don’t think that a Monday-less school week would work - especially for working parents. With childcare costs at an all-time high, and the number of spots available scarce, parents would be left scrambling to cover care, and would take a significant financial hit as a result. Childcare would need to become a lot more accessible and affordable before we could consider such a drastic change.
With nearly 15 weeks off including holidays and professional development days, I don’t think our kids are in need of additional time off, especially if parents are unable to enjoy that extra time as a family. Perhaps we should convince employers to consider a similar four-day structure, and then encourage schools to follow suit.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor and marketing consultant. Find her online at @bitsofbee.