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Tri-State schools prep for the Eclipse

Ahead of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, many school districts are making plans to let students connect with science.

There has been a lot of discussion on the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, and while many have made plans to take a trip to totality, many school districts are either already in session or opening that day.

Safety is top priority for school districts when it comes to viewing the eclipse, and many have already prepared for the potentially once-in-a-lifetime science lesson.

"The school has bought viewing glasses for every student in the district, so teachers will decide how they want to integrate the eclipse in their lessons," said Supt. Kirt Malone of the Palmyra School District.

Hannibal, Quincy and Pittsfield (Pikeland) school districts have also purchased or received glasses for their students.

In addition to district offices handing out glasses to students and teachers, many are also providing information on best practices during the eclipse.

"From the district office, we sent out guidance, just some instructional guidance and also some safety guidance for the kids. We want to look out for their safety," said Supt. Roy Webb of the Quincy School District.

Some districts have chosen to do age-appropriate activities in an effort to keep the youngest students, who many not fully understand the serious safety risks involved if proper viewing is not used, safe from the harmful light from the sun.

"Our high school kids I know are planning a day of activity," said Supt. Paula Hawley of the Pikeland School District. "They have some glasses that they've ordered to view the eclipse so they'll be out doing that during the school day. At the middle school and the junior high, they'll be doing some activities inside."

While totality, or total darkness, is not going to cross most Tri-State schools, some students are getting a special opportunity to take a field trip south to see the spectacular show.

"We have around 80 of our students at Hannibal High School who will be travelling to West Minister College, which will be in totality, and so that will be a wonderful extension of the classroom that day for those students," said Supt. Susan Johnson of the Hannibal School District.

For nearly all the school districts across the tri-states, this coast-to-coast eclipse is being used as a great way for students to connect to science.

"This isn't something that happens all the time, I think it's an opportunity for our students to go out and see something that maybe they won't see again," Hawley said.
"Well it's a really great instructional activity," Johnson said. "What a wonderful, awesome connection to science."
"Scientifically it's a small lesson, but it's something they'll hopefully remember for a long time," Malone said.


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