NEW SUMMERFIELD, Texas (KETK) – New Summerfield is joining a growing list of districts in East Texas opting for a four-day school week, beginning this fall.

School officials listed teacher shortages and burnout to be the driving factors behind the district’s decision to cut the school week short. The district approved the schedule change during a special meeting on May 23.

“Friday historically in the last couple years have been our worse attendance day,” Brandon said.

Since 2020, teachers and students’ overall attendance has decreased with only 94% attendance this past year, compared to 98% attendance before the pandemic, according to Brandon.

School officials hope that this change will cater to the mental health needs of students, teachers and families. The new school week for this district will be Monday thru Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is an incentive for students to come to school,” Angie Tucker, principal of New Summerfield Elementary said.

So far, the community response has been positive but there are some parents that worry their students will be missing out on critical learning hours with the new schedule according to Brandon.

“Our kids are going to be in class more with this schedule than they would be in a five-day calendar,” Brandon said. “I know that’s been some concern.”

Another concern is where students will go on Fridays if their parents work, especially younger students who can’t watch themselves.

“High school kids can be baby sitting on Fridays and making extra money, or another family member that’s able to watch the kids on Friday,” Brandon said.

Fridays will be open to parent-teacher meetings or extra tutoring time for students who need it.

The district followed suit behind Athens ISD, Timpson ISD and Pewitt CISD.