School District Offers Guidance on Solar Eclipse

Map of North America showing the path of the solar eclipseOn Monday, August 21, there will be a total solar eclipse – the first since 1918 that will be visible across the continental United States.

The moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The height of the eclipse will occur around 3 p.m., when 80 percent of the sun’s surface will be covered. It will take another 80 minutes for the moon to move out of the way, with the event concluding by 4:30 p.m.

Schools within the School District of Palm Beach County will observe their regular dismissal times on August 21. However, all outdoor activities between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – including physical education classes, recess, athletic practice, band practice and aftercare programs – must be moved indoors. Outdoor activities can resume after 4:30 p.m.

Students may participate in structured eclipse observation activities, using eyewear recommended by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). These activities must have prior approval from the school’s principal.

The District is offering the following guidance to schools and the community for safely viewing the eclipse on August 21:

  • Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection.
  • Only devices recommended by the AAS can be used to safely watch the eclipse. For this reason, homemade devices cannot be utilized to view the eclipse.
  • Parents should speak with their children about the dangers of looking directly at the sun and the potential damage this can cause to their eyes.
  • Distracted drivers and pedestrians are a likelihood on the day of the eclipse. Make sure to use additional caution during parent pick-up and dismissal of student walkers and bus-riders.

The following resources can provide additional helpful information about the eclipse: