While school is out, youth can still learn

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Clark County Public Schools may be out Monday, but there is still be a unique learning opportunity that will create memories to last a lifetime.

Superintendent Paul Christy announced earlier this week that the district will close Aug. 21 for the total solar eclipse, the first of its kind visible from here in nearly 40 years.

The district joins virtually all other Central Kentucky school districts in excusing this day as a safety measure to not have children on school buses during the height of the event and also to ensure that youth are properly supervised to avoid looking at the sun during the eclipse and potentially doing lasting damage to their eyes.

Parents should take advantage of this opportunity to still have a teaching moment.

The NASA website has all the information needed to help safely view the eclipse with children and talk about how unique it is. So, learning doesn’t have to end just because school is not in session.

According to NASA, “Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights — a total solar eclipse. This path will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse.”

Still, safety must come first.

“Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality,” according to public information from NASA.

“The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.”

This is a great opportunity to experience a special astrological occurrence as a family and create great memories that will last well beyond the next celestial event.