Unless you've been under a rock, you know that one of nature's most phenomenal oddities will occur next week: a total solar eclipse. Undoubtedly, many are making plans to view the oddity, which prompted Pickens County Schools to issue a notification.

Just in case you don't understand the hoopla, allow us to enlighten you.  According to EarthSky, a website dedicated to everything dealing with the cosmos, the last solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States occurred in 1979, and after Monday, the next one won't happen until 2024.  Did you do the math?  It's been roughly 37 years since we were able to see the last one, and it'll be 7 years for another.  So, of course, you want to witness it.  Everyone does!

And this is why the Pickens County Schools released the following statement via email:

Dear Parents,

Our students will have an exciting and rare opportunity on August 21, 2017! Our area will experience a partial solar eclipse! This is when the moon slightly covers the sun.  While this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience full of learning and fun, it also comes with some risks. Scientists have warned those who view the eclipse to take necessary precautions throughout the afternoon.

Some of their recommended precautions include:

  • Not looking directly at the sun with the naked eye at any point during the eclipse
  • Using only “approved’ eyeglasses to view the eclipse
  • Taking frequent breaks from viewing, even with the “approved” eyewear

Those who do not follow these precautions risk damage to their retinas and, possible blindness. We recommend you research possible risks, and available precautions, so that you can make a fully informed decision as to whether you want your child to have to the opportunity to view this event from home or have the opportunity to view this event at school via livestream or on-the-air television coverage. Should you decide you want your child to stay home that day, the absence will be excused.

Although Monday will be a normal school day, students will be advised to not look directly at the sun and risk damaging their eyes. To minimize the likelihood that students will look directly at the sun, outdoor activities between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. will be moved indoors. Because all outside activity will halt, there will be a slight delay in school dismissal.  Whether out of school or in school, we need your help to reinforce the fact that students do not need to stare at the sun at any time but especially on Monday. We also ask you to be cautious while driving during the eclipse.  Please be especially careful to avoid distracted drivers, students, and pedestrians.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jamie Chapman, Superintendent

Be sure that your child has the necessary equipment and guidance. Happy viewing!