It’s expected to be a visual spectacle this coming Monday when day turns into night in the middle of the afternoon.
The first coast-to-cost solar eclipse since 1918 will take place at approximately 1:32 p.m. local time and the Warren County School System is making plans for students to view this cosmic marvel.
Permission slips and instruction forms have been sent home with students. Those forms will need to be signed and returned to school in order for the student to view the eclipse.
“Everyone needs to know the importance of following the viewing guidelines,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “We have the certified glasses, but they won’t do any good if you take them off. If a student is going to take their glasses off, they can’t participate.”
Asked what she knows about the eclipse, West Elementary student Joseline Almaguer said, “The moon is going to cover the sun and you can’t look at it without special glasses.”
Cox said the thousands of certified glasses were donated from two sources – a local optometrist and Tennessee Tech. He said there are enough for every student and teacher in the school system to have a pair.
“It’s a historic event and we want students to be able to view it,” said Cox. “If they turn in their permission form, they will be able to go outside. If not, we will have accommodations set up at each school for them to view it on computer.”
Some Midstate school systems have canceled classes Monday. Cox said that was a consideration, but he believes students will get more benefit by being in school.
“This is a very teachable moment,” said Cox. “Our teachers have been preparing information about what an eclipse is and the different stages of it. Plus, there are a number of students who wouldn’t have access to the proper safety glasses if they weren’t in school so this will be a way for them to see it in a safe manner.”
A special lunch menu is in place at all school cafeterias featuring a meteor sub, space shuttle chicken sandwich, lunar-roasted vegetables and star fruit.
Permission forms and viewing instructions are available on the home page of the school system’s website, warrenschools.com.