NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Nashville Public Schools released a statement defending the decision to keep students in class for August’s total solar eclipse.
The district explained the Board of Education voted on July 11, to modify the district calendar so students will be in school Aug. 21, the day of the solar eclipse, and not in school Sept. 1.
Mayor Barry reportedly asked the district to keep students in school because she felt young students may encounter “safety issues if they were left home without supervision.”
The full statement is below:
We had originally planned not to have school on the day of the eclipse but were asked by the Mayor to reconsider that decision as she felt strongly that young students could encounter safety issues if they were left home without supervision on that day. The district had already purchased safety glasses for students to take home so they could safely view the eclipse from home. Since Tuesday’s vote, the administration has been working through logistics associated with the calendar change – including obtaining safety glasses for school personnel – and will communicate further details with families as we get closer to the start of school.
Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory Outreach Astronomer Billy Teets told News 2 that he and his team are trying to educate people about how dangerous the time leading up to the eclipse can be.
“You have to have eye protection any time the sun is visible,” said Teets. “Then, once the moon completely moves in front of the sun, take off any eye protection and just look straight up at it.”
You must wear solar glasses, which are made out of the same material welder’s use for eye protection. Many businesses and city buildings are handing out the glasses for free or you can purchase them several places, including online, for around $2.
Teets says you can also damage your camera or camera phone if you shoot the sun while it’s still visible.