Area schools to give students the day off during next April’s solar eclipse

The April 8 solar eclipse is a Monday. Several schools have professional development planned for the day.

Several school districts in the Dayton region plan to close next April 8, the day a full solar eclipse is expected to be seen in Ohio. Others are reconsidering plans to have school or schedule teacher professional development days to avoid having students looking at the solar eclipse without proper eyewear.

The Dayton region will be a part of the path of totality, meaning the moon fully blocking the sun will be able to be seen from those cities. It’s expected the duration of the total solar eclipse would be roughly two to five minutes, depending on location, and is anticipated to start slightly after 3 p.m.

Beavercreek schools are among those planning to close the schools on that Monday. Sara Anderson, a spokeswoman for the district, said the school district considered the eclipse when making the school calendar.

“Because the eclipse will occur during dismissal, Beavercreek felt it was in the best interest of student and driver safety not to place people in a situation where they may be tempted to look at the eclipse without proper eye protection,” Anderson said. “Furthermore, because Beavercreek is in the path of totality, roads in and around our town may be congested.”

However, some schools plan to have class that day. Franklin superintendent Michael Sanders said the district has purchased special glasses for students to watch the eclipse.

In Springboro, fifth-grade students can watch the solar eclipse as part of a science unit, with their family’s permission and wearing specially made glasses to be able to view the eclipse.

“If students elect not to watch outside, they will have the opportunity to watch a live stream of the solar eclipse, projected in a classroom with a teacher,” said Scott Marshall, spokesman for Springboro Schools.

Centerville Schools will also be in session with students that day.

Otherwise, kids will remain inside for recess, he said, and the middle and high school will dismiss at the regular time so they won’t be in session during the eclipse.

Oakwood Schools, Bethel Local, Vandalia-Butler and Northmont Schools have April 8 listed as a professional development day. That means staff will be in the building but students will not be.

Vandalia spokeswoman Mary Stephens said Vandalia’s Smith Middle School has a planetarium which has a monthly show called “Under the Dome. The show is free and open to the public on the second Saturday of each month at 7 p.m. She said the eclipse will be a prominent topic in the monthly series.

Other schools are still scheduled to have school that day but officials for the district said there were still discussions around what the school would be doing that day.

Fairborn, Carlisle, Miami East and Milton-Union have April 8 scheduled as a school day, according to officials at each of the schools. Officials cited concerns that included traffic from people watching the eclipse and security issues with people on school grounds.

Pam Gayheart, a spokeswoman for Fairborn schools, said the district currently has April 8 as a regular school day but there are discussions about changing that.

“Our district has discussed but has not made a decision yet,” Gayheart said.

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