On the right path? More districts closing for solar eclipse

A solar eclipse "only occurs at any given place every 360-410 years," according to Ennis ISD in Texas.

A total solar eclipse is likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and leaders of many districts in the path don’t want students to miss it. Or, they don’t want students and their families to get stuck in traffic created by sightseers flocking to the cities and towns over which the eclipse will be fully visible on April 8.

Students in Corsicana ISD in Central Texas will not only get the day off but they will also receive a free pair of eclipse glasses from the district. “Our area is expected to be a prime watching area with more than four minutes of eclipse totality,” the district notes on its website. “The city population could effectively double that day and local resources are predicted to be strained, including phone and emergency responders.”

Ennis ISD will close for the day as the small central Texas town south of Dallas expects as many as 200,000 visitors for the eclipse, which “only occurs at any given place every 360 to 410 years,” the district says on its website. Nearby Manor ISD simply declared the eclipse a ‘student holiday.’

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The moon will fully block the sun on April 8, and the eclipse will first be visible (weather permitting) in southwest Texas around 12:30 Central time, according to NASA. It will then cross parts of the Midwest and New England throughout the afternoon, passing over:

Dallas around 1:40 p.m.. Central time
Indiana and Ohio, 3:15 p.m. Eastern time
Western New York, 3:20 p.m., Eastern time
New Hampshire and Maine, 3:30 p.m., Eastern time

The total eclipse will be visible for about two to four minutes, with partial views lasting over an hour in the locations where it can be seen. The total eclipse will also be seen in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Vermont, and in small parts of Tennessee and Michigan.

Several institutions and organizations are sharing learning activities that teachers can tie into the eclipse even if their schools aren’t in the direct path.

Total solar eclipse shutdown?

One of the biggest systems to close for the solar eclipse is the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which announced Friday that it was giving students the day off and that NASA had donated eclipse glasses for all of its scholars, Spectrum News reported. Athens City Schools in Ohio is also providing eclipse glasses to all of its students and closing, in part, because administrators wouldn’t be able to provide adequate supervision to ensure everyone views the eclipse safely, the district said on its website.

But not all students in the so-called “path of totality” are getting the whole day off. Dozens of districts in Indiana will close on April 8 but many of those will hold a virtual learning day. Districts across the Southern Tier of New York have announced half-days as the eclipse won’t be visible until later in the afternoon.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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