Four-Day School Week Policy

Healthy Eating and Active Living Research Core

Hallie E. Ford Center


We conduct comprehensive analyses of four-day school week policy adoption and implementation to understand the impacts on children and families.

Our efforts will inform decision makers, help leaders solve problems, and promote positive change in our communities.


About Four-Day School Weeks (FDSW)

Four-day school weeks are used in over 1,600 schools across 24 states, but little is known about adoption and implementation of these types of school calendars. Most research to date has focused on the cost effectiveness and impacts on academic achievement, with considerable less attention to impacts on child and family health and well-being. To learn more about FDSW models in general, explore the Conference of State Legislatures website. To learn more about what we are doing at Oregon State University, explore the links to our research and publications below.



Research publications by HEAL Core faculty and their students related to Four-Day School Weeks.


Thompson, P.N., Tomayko, E.J., Gunter, K., Schuna, J.M.   (2021). Impacts of the four-day school week on high school achievement and educational engagement. Education Economics. 1-13 10.1080/09645292.2021.2006610


Thompson, P.N. (2021). Is four less than five? Effects of four-day school weeks on student achievement in Oregon. Journal of Public Economics. 193, 104308. 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104308


Thompson, P.N., Schuna, J.M., Gunter, K., Tomayko, E.J. (2020). "Are All Four-Day School Weeks Created Equal? A National Assessment of Four-Day School Week Policy Adoption and Implementation". Education Finance and Policy 0 0:ja, 1-50 10.1162/edfp_a_00316


Tomayko, Emily J.., Gunter, Katherine B.., Schuna, John M.., & Thompson, Paul N.., (2020). "Effects of Four-Day School Weeks on Physical Education Exposure and Childhood Obesity". Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 10.1123/jpah.2019-0648.




Effects of Four-Day School Weeks on Student Achievement and Child and Family Wellbeing

Agency: Spencer Foundation
Team: Paul Thompson, PI, Kathy Gunter, Co-I, and John Schuna, Co-I, (OSU), Emily Tomayko, Co-PI (Montana State University), and Jason Ward, Co-PI (Rand Corporation)
Award Period: 2021-2023

Evaluating the effects of four day school weeks on child and family health, wellbeing, and socioeconomic factors

Agency: NIH, NICHD
Team: Paul Thompson, Co-PI, Kathy Gunter, Co-I, and John Schuna, Co-I, (OSU), Emily Tomayko, PI (Montana State University)
Award Period: 2021-2023

Research team

Kathy Gunter, Ph.D.

Kathy Gunter, Ph.D.

Professor and Extension Specialist
Oregon State University

John Schuna Jr, Ph.D.

John Schuna Jr, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Oregon State University

Paul N. Thompson

Paul N. Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Oregon State University

Emily Tomayko, Ph.D., RD

Emily Tomayko, Ph.D., RD

Assistant Professor
Oregon State University
Montana State University

Jason Ward, Ph.D.

Jason Ward, Ph.D.

Associate Economist
Rand Corporation



Madeleine C. Smith,
Paul Thompson, Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
Honor’s Thesis
Attachment to Place Among Teenage Students in School Districts With Four-Day School Weeks

FDSW in the News

July 12, 2021

4-day school weeks: Educational innovation or detriment?

Evidence suggests instructional time makes the difference. Read more at Brookings.

September 07, 2020

Will COVID-19 make rural Colorado’s four-day school week an urban thing, too?

As the coronavirus pandemic has upended classroom operations and district finances across Colorado, the four-day week may be poised to expand beyond the state’s rural school districts and into urban areas that have long resisted it. Read more at The Denver Post.

June 1, 2020

Four-day school weeks becoming more common, with mixed results, study finds

Social distancing poses several challenges for younger children whose physical and emotional needs differ from older kids. Educators have identified ways to keep kids safe while giving them the environment needed to learn and feel cared for. Read more at OSU News and Research Communications.

June 2, 2020

Results vary for school using a 4-day week

Many schools adopted the schedule to save money, a point that may resonate with districts facing budget cuts due to the coronavirus outbreak. Read more at Smart Brief.

June 1, 2020

OSU study finds mixed results from four-day school weeks

“We hear in the news that schools have implemented this four-day school week, but we didn’t have any systematic evidence of the scope of implementation,” said lead author Paul Thompson. Read more at KTVZ.