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Four-day school weeks coming to some Arkansas districts

Some central Arkansas school districts are switching to four-day weeks, with school officials in Poyen preparing for the switch next year.

POYEN, Ark. — Remember sitting in class as a kid and wishing that the school week wasn't so long? 

You probably thought there'd never be a change to that – but some central Arkansas districts are making that a reality.

"I feel like there's support, they're ready to give this schedule a try," Ronnie Kissire, superintendent for Poyen School District, said.

For a community as small as Poyen, staying close knit is very important.

"Kind of look at things that might encourage students to come in, as well as help parents and our faculty that have been dealing with COVID for this time," Kissire said.

This is why they're changing what's been the norm, and instead switching to a four-day week this coming school year.

Students won't be in seats on Mondays coming this Fall.

"Definitely easier for smaller districts to look at this. For staffing reasons, it plays a big factor," Kissire said.

Poyen isn't the only small district thinking about this. The Atkins Public School District switched to a four-day week last year. 

Superintendent Dr. Lori Edgin said the switch has been beneficial for both the district and families.

"Typically when we would have an opening, we would just have a couple of applicants, now we have multiple applicants. Interns from local universities are already saying we want to work at your school district because you implemented the four day week," Dr. Edgin said. 

There are concerns that come with the switch though – ones that Atkins has already had to work through. 

With an extra day off, who's in charge of watching the students that are too young to be at home alone?

"We do offer 'Red Devil' days every Monday that we're out of school and it's for K-6th graders. They can come 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and get additional enrichment and support through academics," Dr. Edgin said.

It's a little different for Poyen, whose superintendent said they've had churches offer to step in and watch students who need it.

These same concerns are also being brought up in Perryville, where school officials are considering making the switch.

"Don't want my head in the sand if there's a way out there to make things better for Perryville schools then that's what we're gonna do," Walt Davis, Superintendent for Perryville said.

Each of the districts are at different points in the transitionary process, but Kissire said there's one thing that's the same for all of them-- the benefit that will come for everyone in the community.

"We weren't the leaders with this, but we saw that other districts had done it and the benefits they had gotten from it," Kissire said.

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