Schools Closing for Solar Eclipse, Cite Safety Concerns

One school is comparing the solar eclipse to other environmental conditions that close schools, such as snow or dangerous temperatures.

Schools Closing for Solar Eclipse, Cite Safety Concerns

The safety concerns include permanent eye damage and increased traffic in viewing areas.

Some school districts across the country have decided to close schools on August 21, the day of the solar eclipse, citing safety concerns for students.

Edwardsville District 7 in Saint Louis, Missouri voted on Monday to cancel school due to the threat of severe eye damage that can occur by looking directly at the solar eclipse, according to The Blaze.

Superintendent Lynda Andre said some of the district’s schools are let out at the time of day when it is most dangerous to look at the sun.

“To put students outdoors during that time, we can’t account for whether they’ll look at the sun,” says Andre. “We will not put the students out and just hope they use safe habits until they get home to their parents.”

Teachers had alternatively requested to organize field trips to view the eclipse. The request was denied due to the fact that the eclipse will occur on the fifth day of the 2017-2018 school year, which wouldn’t leave enough time to train the teachers and students on how to safely view the eclipse, says Andre.

Andre compares the solar eclipse to other environmental factors that close schools, such as snow or dangerous temperatures. She says the school day will be made up at the end of the year.

Dunklin R-5 school district in Jefferson County, Missouri, which has also decided to close, cited traffic as another concern associated with the solar eclipse.

Superintendent Stan Stratton says although the school will be closed, students will be sent home with an educational packet and protective eyewear for if they choose to watch it.

“There are just a lot of unknowns with it, the unknown of how many people are you going to have and what’s going to be the traffic issue,” says Stratton. “It’s a once in a lifetime event and so there will be discussions both before and after in the classrooms.”

It is estimated that approximately one million visitors will travel to Missouri to view the eclipse.

Some other districts in surrounding areas are opting to stay open.

Triad School District in Belleville, Illinois will provide in-service training for its teachers and has also purchased protective eyewear. Students will need parental permission to participate in the viewing of the eclipse.

“We realize the hardship closing school might have on some households,” said Superintendent Leigh Lewis. “Therefore, we prefer that parents make the choice that suits their need.”

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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One response to “Schools Closing for Solar Eclipse, Cite Safety Concerns”

  1. I guess the old saying “better safe than sorry” is applicable here. Can’t fault them for trying to protect students.

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