School district site provides resources, information on solar eclipse

WEST PALM BEACH – In preparation for the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, the School District of Palm Beach County has created a one-stop shop with resources for safe viewing of the eclipse, links to lesson plans and other information about the eclipse.

The site, www.palmbeachschools.org/solar-eclipse, also includes the District’s guidance to schools and to parents regarding the 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.

Parents should take note of the following:

• Parents or guardians who choose to sign their children out early on Monday, August 21 should be signed out no later than noon. Students whose parents or guardians choose to keep them home on Monday will have an excused absence.

• 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.

• Many elementary and middle schools may alter dismissal times or procedures on Monday to ensure the safety of students. Parents will hear from their student’s school directly with any change in dismissal times or procedures.

• 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 at District schools may participate in structured eclipse observation activities, using eyewear that comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 12312-2 international safety standards. These activities must have prior approval from the school’s principal.

• Students whose teachers have planned solar eclipse viewing activities will have permission slips sent home for parent or guardian signature.

• 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.

• Safety messages will be sent home to families in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Portuguese, followed up with reminders by telephone, email and on social media.

Parents and guardians should contact their child’s school with questions about specific outdoor practice schedules or potential changes in locations or times of after-school outdoor activities.

For more information, please contact the Office of Communications at 561-357-1114.

About the School District of Palm Beach County

The School District of Palm Beach County is the eleventh largest in the nation and the fifth largest in the state of Florida with 185 schools, serving more than 183,000 students who speak 150 languages and dialects. As the largest employer in Palm Beach County, the school district has nearly 21,000 employees, including more than 12,000 teachers. To learn more about the School District of Palm Beach County, visit www.palmbeachschools.org.

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