WCSD students to get day off for 2024 eclipse
Solar eclipses have the power to turn day into night.
They also have the power to attract the gaze of interested people and cause significant eye damage very quickly.
The path of totality of a major 2024 solar eclipse includes much of the northwestern part of Warren County. The moon will cover the sun for about four minutes at about 3:15 p.m. Monday, April 8.
While that might be something of interest for classes from science to history, it would not normally be a concern for the board of education.
“That would not normally be something we would be talking about,” Superintendent Amy Stewart told the school board at a special meeting on Wednesday.
However, because the time of totality comes when some students would be walking home or riding a bus, district officials wanted to talk about it.
“There are dangers to watching the eclipse,” Stewart said. “We don’t want kids to be walking home… or being on the bus… and not being supervised at that time.”
“Watching a solar eclipse is a memorable experience, but looking directly at the sun can seriously damage your eyes,” according to the American Academy of Ophthamology. “Staring at the sun for even a short time without wearing the right eye protection can damage your retina permanently. It can even cause blindness, called solar retinopathy.”
“We don’t want anyone to ruin their eyes because of the eclipse,” Stewart said.
So, the district has adjusted the 2023-24 school calendar to cancel school on April 8.
“We’re re-engineering the calendar,” she said.
There are ways to watch the eclipse.
The American Astronomical Society lists some trusted vendors for eclipse glasses, citing “unscrupulous” internet sellers moving “counterfeit” glasses that don’t meet international standards.