TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa Bay area schools are making plans for students and the solar eclipse on Monday.
The eclipse will be seen with about 81 percent of the sun covered in our area. The maximum darkness will hit at 2:50 p.m.
Prime viewing for the eclipse will start at 1:15 p.m. and end at 4:15 p.m.
Schools are planning ways to teach about the eclipse and science. Teachers will practice safe viewing with students.
School officials are offering this advice, “We ask parents to use an abundance of caution while driving during the time of the eclipse, and to be especially careful in the parent pickup area at school to avoid distracted drivers, students and pedestrians.”
Some schools are allowing parents to pick up kids early or to keep them home Monday as an excused absence.
See information below sent from the schools.
In Hillsborough County schools:
OPTIONS FOR PARENTS
SCHOOLS HAVE EXCITING EDUCATIONAL PLANS FOR THE ECLIPSE!
Many lessons will be indoors, and some will be outdoors. All outdoor eclipse lessons will use proper safety procedures. If you do not want your child to be a part of any outdoor eclipse plans, please let your school know in advance.
If you want your child to view the eclipse at home, you can pick them up early for a half-day or keep your child at home that day — it will be an excused absence with a note from a parent.
ALL AFTERSCHOOL ACTIVITES WILL BE INDOORS FROM 1:15–4:15 – THIS IS AN EARLY RELEASE DAY
In Pinellas County schools:
Although it is always unsafe to look at the sun, it can be especially dangerous during an eclipse because you may not know that damage is occurring. Observing the sun can damage the eyes if proper precautions are not taken. To minimize the likelihood of students looking directly at the sun and risking damage to their eyes, the district is asking that, before Aug. 21, parents talk to their children about the eclipse, the dangers of looking directly at the sun and the potential damage that looking at the sun can cause to their eyes.
In the interest of safety, Pinellas County Schools is highly recommending that students, faculty, and staff view the eclipse virtually through a live broadcasted feed.
Parents are asked to use an abundance of caution while driving during the time of the eclipse, and to be especially careful in the parent pickup areas at schools to avoid distracted drivers, students and pedestrians. Regular dismissal will not be affected.
If a viewing activity is organized by a teacher as part of a science lesson, it is required that the teacher receive signed parent permission for each participating student. All participants must use solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 International Safety Standard.
In Polk County schools:
The eclipse poses numerous learning opportunities, but also several dangers. Looking directly at the sun during an eclipse, even for a short time, can cause permanent vision damage.
To minimize the risk to students, Polk County Public Schools will move all outdoor activities, such as athletic practices, band rehearsals and after-school programs, indoors between the hours of 1:15 and 4:30 p.m. Dismissal times will not be effected.
Children who are outside during these times for other reasons, such as for pickup, will also be moved indoors.
In addition to these precautions, student absences on the day of the eclipse will be excused.
The school district is also emphasizing, both to its employees and parents, that eyewear must meet specific NASA-issued requirements in order to offer sufficient protection for viewing the eclipse.
Transportation-related employees, particularly bus drivers, are being instructed to use extreme caution during the eclipse to avoid distracted drivers and pedestrians. School-based employees and parents should also use caution, especially during school dismissal and while driving on or near school campuses.
Bus drivers will also be warning bus riders about the dangers of looking directly at the partially obscured sun.
District staff will call and email parents via SchoolMessenger to remind them that outdoor activities will be moved indoors during the eclipse, that they should use caution while driving during the eclipse, and that they should talk with their children about the dangers of looking directly at the sun.
In Sarasota County schools:
The district will distribute information to parents via an automated phone call, email, website and other communication channels. We have sent our principals the following guidelines:
- Looking directly at the Sun without approved safety glasses is dangerous, but there are several safe methods that any teacher can employ to ensure the safety of his or her students while observing. No matter which method teachers choose, they must make certain directions are understood and followed. This means constant monitoring of students, with zero tolerance for disregarding the directions.
- The NASA website emphasizes the importance of carefully following safety procedures. Retinal burns can occur if someone views the eclipse without the recommended eye protection.
- Because the eclipse will occur when most children are being dismissed from school, we are cautioning our principals. (Sarasota schools let out from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m., depending on the school.) Whenever possible, students should wait in covered areas for buses during dismissal time.
District permission slips are required for eclipse activities:
- Some classes are planning projects around this event. Parents will need to sign the required district permission slips before students can participate in eclipse activities. Only schools and classes that have pre-planned activities and the necessary approved safety eyewear for viewing the eclipse may host viewing activities, and only students with a signed district-approved permission slip may participate in these activities.
All schools will move outdoor activities indoors between 1:15 and 4:15 p.m., except for approved eclipse activities for students with signed district parental permission forms. Outdoor activities that must be moved indoors include, but are not limited to aftercare, athletics, recess, physical education, and any other outdoor after-school events.
Early pick-up of students:
If parents wish to pick up their children before regular dismissal time at their school on Monday, Aug. 21, early dismissals will be allowed/excused. Parents may wish to pick up their child early for the following reasons, for example:
- In the event their child’s school/class is not engaged in an eclipse activity and they wish to host an activity at home
- If they have concerns there may be traffic issues
- If they have concerns about their child walking or biking home or riding the bus
In Manatee County schools:
In part, the guidelines include the following measures designed to ensure student safety:
- All outdoor activities between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. will be moved indoors (this applies to ALL schools and includes activities such as physical education, recess, athletic practices, band practices, aftercare programs, etc.) Outdoor activities may resume after 4:30 p.m.
- School Principals and Staff will hold bus and car riders indoors until their buses or cars arrive.
- Viewing of the eclipse will be limited to virtual viewing in safe indoor settings.
- We ask ALL parents to speak to their children in advance of the eclipse about the dangers of looking directly at the sun and the potential harm it can cause to their eyes.
“Making a decision on how to best handle the upcoming solar eclipse was extremely difficult because we recognize both its historic and educational aspects,” said Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene.
“However, our first and foremost priority is the safety of our students. Because we have more than 49,000 students and we cannot assure that all of them will have the proper eye equipment to safely watch the eclipse, we are coming down on the side of safety as outlined in our Student Safety Advisory for the Solar Eclipse. While we encourage our teachers and schools to view the eclipse in a safe indoor setting on TV or by live streaming, we also ask for the help of our parents, teachers and staff to reinforce the need for our students to be safe and to avoid looking at the sun during the eclipse. We will spend the next week getting this information out in a variety of ways, including hard copies to students through our schools, our district website, social media, our mobile app MySDMC and through electronic phone messaging.”
In Hernando County schools:
In an effort to ensure that all students have the safest viewing experience, Hernando schools will only permit students to observe the solar eclipse online.
While on campus, students who must leave the building to transition between classes and lunch will be instructed by staff to exercise care and avoid staring directly at the sun.
Because much of the eclipse will take place after school hours, the following additional safety precautions will be taken:
– All after school activities, including athletics, will be held inside until after 4:15 p.m.
– Car riders will remain inside the school until their ride is present
School dismissal will take place as usual. For students who walk or ride their bike to school, we are asking that ALL PARENTS speak to their children about the eclipse, the dangers of looking directly at the sun, and the potential damage this can cause to their eyes.
Student absence for August 21st will be marked excused.
In Pasco County schools:
MORE ECLIPSE STORIES-
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