Solar eclipse 2017 countdown: Are schools half-empty today as parents keep kids home to watch?

Are classes down students today as parents keep their kids home to see the eclipse?

School staffs, is anyone in class today?  Or, is there rampant eclipse-itis as parents keep children home to watch the eclipse, the first total solar eclipse to cross the country coast to coast in nearly 100 years?

I talked to several parents over the weekend who were keeping their children home. Many were heading out-of-town to find better viewing ground for the eclipse. Others were compromising and picking up their kids early to watch it. (Parents explained they were traveling to the “best place to view the eclipse.” That included towns in South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. How many best places are there? I am hoping my front yard is one of them.)

Some schools, including the elementary around the corner from me, are holding special afternoon programs and bought eclipse-viewing glasses for students. But other schools are not risking the liability of eye damage. (Coweta Schools bought 24,000 glasses for their students and staff but the glasses turned out to be the ones recalled by Amazon.)

I understand the concerns of escorting schoolchildren onto a field to watch the eclipse. I would not like to be corralling younger children to keep on their protective glasses, although some schools wisely recruited parents to help with that. I talked to young moms about watching the eclipse with toddlers. One joked about duct taping the protective eyewear on her rambunctious 3-year-old.

I would hate to have kids miss this rare cosmic treat. (My son starts classes at Georgia Tech today, but told me his afternoon class was canceled so students could watch the eclipse with glasses provided by Tech.)

A reader told me this morning her daughter is a teacher, and half of her fourth grade class is absent today. Some school districts in prime viewing areas chose to close today. Those heavily impacted school districts had two considerations, enabling their students to witness the eclipse and avoiding their school buses being caught in what could be a traffic nightmare as eclipse gazers head home this afternoon.

The reader noted, “There seems to be no state guidance or coordination, and a lot of the decisions seem to be driven by fears of liability.”

Was there a better way to deal with this?

Reader Comments 0

41 comments
bicami
bicami

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Moreofthesame
Moreofthesame

I took my High School Senior daughter and 2 of her friends to Lake Hartwell for 100% totality.  It was a phenomenal experience.  The dusk like light then darkness and a noticeable drop in temperature.  We could see stars.  As it just started to lighten up again the crickets started up.  It was amazing.  Well worth the brutal drive home.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

My older daughter ended up with 10 of her 28 students there all day.


Her younger sister (astrophysics) has howled over how we bemoan that our kids get little experi

ence with hands-on science yet some schools were keeping elementary kids inside (for fear they will be disobedient and try to look without the glasses provided for them.)


When I was a kid, and was told that if I looked directly I'd end up blind, I DIDN"T LOOK DIRECTLY.  Back then, we made the pin-hole boxes and were happy with that.  (Of course, no country-wide tracking on TV or special glasses then!)  And I took kindergarteners outside back in the 1980s to view the eclipse with the pin-hole boxes.


I am glad for the parents who kept their kids at home, if it meant they got to actually experience the eclipse, rather than watch it on TV.  It's just not the same on TV.

Lee VonderHaar
Lee VonderHaar

This is what happens when you let bureaucrats control your life. Do not let these turds control your families individual freedoms.

Donnie Woods
Donnie Woods

This is a joke we had an eclipse in 83 or 84 and school was not closed.Just shows how soft people are now and how the unions look for any excuse for teachers not to work

Reba Smith3253
Reba Smith3253

teacher in Cobb high school -- over 50% of students did not come to school and the rest checked out by noon.  


Felt like a Saturday morning in the building.  Glasses are in dump by now.

catmom-scout
catmom-scout

My best friend kept her 2nd grader out of school today (Gwinnett). Her mother-in-law lives in the north Georgia mountains in one of the prime viewing areas, and they decided to go up there to see the eclipse.


My office provided safety glasses, and we all went up to the top level of the parking deck for an unobstructed view. It was cool.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

From the previous thread, regarding today's solar eclipse:


The last lines of Alice Ristroph’s article in the following link:https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/american-totality-eclipse-race/537318/

--------------------------------------------

“ '. . . Or perhaps we are not indifferent, but just no more capable than butterflies and bees of seeing the long path and of deciding to change it. The Great American Eclipse illuminates, or darkens, a land still segregated, a land still in search of equality, a land of people still trying to dominate each other. When the lovely glow of a backlight fades, history is relentless, just one damn fact after another, one damning fact after another. America is a nation with debts that no honest man can pay. It is too much to ask that these debts simply be forgiven. But perhaps the strange path of the eclipse suggests a need for reorganization. We have figured out, more or less, how to count every person. We have not yet found a political system in which every person counts equally.'

===========================

There is poetry in this article, pain, and passion. Those who cannot see somewhat with the eyes of a poet, never know the beautiful possibility that the Creator of this universe may have had meaningful design planned for the trajectory of this United States total eclipse of the sun well before any one of us was even born.

My ancestry DNA showed that I am 41% German and Swedish, in combination. It, also, showed that I am 2% African and 3% Syrian. The people of the world, in other words, are contained within my blood and my DNA, and I imagine that that fact is true for practically every person existing in the United States of America. Cannot these phenomena in this limitless universe in which we live cause us to understand how silly our attention to race really is? I have no doubt that the spirit of God is not focused on race, but on the hearts and minds of humankind."

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@MaryElizabethSings

Thanks for sharing, MES.


A few days ago I shared the following with friends and others:


Just think, sunspots have been observed to vary in diameter up to around 100,000 miles.  Earth?  Only 8,000 miles in diameter.

Just think, 1.3 million Earths could fit inside the Sun, just one of “billions and billions” (Carol Sagan) other suns.

Just think, all we are, and all we will ever be, is made of “star stuff” (Neil Tyson).

So why would any of us think we are so significant that we must exist at the competitive expense of others, such as that that reemerged in Charlottesville?

Maybe the world, the U.S. in particular, could use a lot more solar physicists, etc. – people, it would seem, who might lend the wisdom of The Universe to the futility of those who think themselves significant.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

By the way, this is amazing to see and the view from my driveway is great.  Started here at 1:35. The glasses are vital. Get outside if you are not yet. 

Postscript: It is now 3 and never went dark. Stayed fairly bright from that slim sliver of sun.

catmom-scout
catmom-scout

@MaureenDowney I'm in Gwinnett, and we all noticed it was dimmer outside once the eclipse hit. But it wasn't as dark as I expected. Our group also noticed the temperature felt a bit cooler.

Wings9
Wings9

I don't thinks schools would want to have any students there.  Too big a liability issue.

Jessa Nichole Phillips
Jessa Nichole Phillips

We got a call in Douglas County on Friday that we could pick our kids up after 11:30 and they would be counted as being there all day.

Phyllis Brown
Phyllis Brown

Walton county schools are giving all the students eclipse glasses and they will all be watching the eclipse at school.

Niko Botebo
Niko Botebo

At AJC the glass is always half empty.

Jackie Mann
Jackie Mann

North Paulding High School let out at 11:40 for parents who wanted to pick up there kids early... It was a nightmare getting my daughter. Took about 30 mins longer than normal. \U0001f613

WhoReallyCaresWhoIAm
WhoReallyCaresWhoIAm

Not ONLY are our classes half-empty, I just walked by the front office...there has to be at least 20-30 parents waiting to check kids out by the 1:30 deadline, and apparently this has been going on since 11...!

Kim Blass
Kim Blass

I feel sorry for the teachers at schools that are not allowing folks to go outside to witness the eclipse. What teacher does not want to see an eclipse?!? And they are stuck inside half-empty classrooms.

Joyce Naumis
Joyce Naumis

I've had from 6 to 9 kids out in each of my classes so far

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

One high school teacher said her attendance thus far has been down about half. 

WhoReallyCaresWhoIAm
WhoReallyCaresWhoIAm

@MaureenDowney Kids are being checked out right and left. We are dismissing an hour later, for  "safety of the children," however, the peak is at 2:35....at 3:25, the eclipse will still be occurring, and they will be on buses..what the county said they were trying to avoid.

Insanity.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I was going to watch it with my kids at their school but one of them woke up with pink eye. So we're all going to watch it from our swim club.

Becky Odom Woomer
Becky Odom Woomer

My kids aren't there--our district is calling it an excused absence\U0001f60e\U0001f60e\U0001f60e

Ashley Holcombe
Ashley Holcombe

My attendance so far: 10 absent of 22 total 9 absent of 15 total Today is a wash at school \U0001f614

Lottie O Watts
Lottie O Watts

My Sun is shining like normal at my house today, beautiful, no big deal. Wow.

Neal-Wright
Neal-Wright

I wish APS had cancelled rather than extending the day.  I know lots of families that kept their kids out today (either for travel or local viewing with family) and, frankly, I just didn't trust APS not to make the same type of mistake that Coweta did.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@Neal-Wright

These were my questions to APS more than a month in advance:

Will APS allow the children to experience the once-in-a-lifetime natural event?

How will APS prepare children to experience the event?

What will APS provide children to experience the event?

Will children be invited to talk about their experience of the event?

Will children be invited to write about their experience of the event?

Will children be encouraged to inquire and learn more deeply why the event happened?

What does APS plan to learn from the children's experience?

How will APS engage families in the process?

The clock is ticking down: 36 days left.

No response from APS until the day the AJC published Gwinnett’s announced plan. 

0.803186244481
0.803186244481

I believe it is a liability even with safe glasses. There are a lot of kids who will remove the glasses because they are told not to. That is the parent's responsibility, not a teachers or parent volunteer. I think they should have dismissed students early in time to get them home before the eclipse.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

I wouldn't know. My son is not in school today. He is with me in Spring City, TN, getting quite an education from the myriad scientists, photographers, and eclipse chasers that are sharing space with us at the center line of totality. What an experience! It beats watching it on the NASA channel by a mile!