School’s out for eclipse

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Area school boards are taking a proactive approach when the skies darken April 8 during a total solar eclipse.

That’s prompted educators to move their upcoming professional development day originally slated for April 26 to that date as a way to safeguard children against the dangers of exposure posed by the eclipse that will affect the region from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

According to a joint media release from the public and Catholic school boards, the decision was reached after consulting with local health units and emergency services, noting the threat to safety as the timing of the eclipse coincides with the end of the school day bus travel.

“We recognize the incredible experiential learning opportunity associated with viewing the solar eclipse, and if our staff, students or families choose to participate in this activity, we encourage them to do so safely,” the release said. “Looking directly at a solar eclipse can be dangerous due to the intense sunlight that is still present even when the moon is blocking part of, or all of the sun. The sun’s rays can cause permanent and irreversible damage to the eyes. Regular sunglasses are not sufficient for looking at a solar eclipse as they do not block the harmful solar radiation.”

The statement also says that rare events of this type often bring large numbers of tourists to the area, which poses an additional safety concern when children are being transported from school.

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