Most local students to stay inside during eclipse

Published 9:20 pm Friday, August 18, 2017

Some schools in Selma and Dallas County have made plans for Monday’s solar eclipse.

All area schools except for one have decided not to allow students outside to view the eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking it fully or partially and casting a shadow on the Earth. The eclipse will occur Monday afternoon, and according to NASA, it is projected to occur here between 12:01 p.m. and 2:59 p.m. The maximum part of the eclipse is projected to happen around 1:33 p.m.

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A total eclipse of the sun will not be visible here, but according to NASA, around 89 percent of the sun will be blocked in Selma and Dallas County.

Morgan Academy Headmaster Mark Knight said they decided to allow students in seventh through 12th grades to go outside and view it with permission from their parents.

“We just thought it was an educational experience,” Knight said Friday.

“The safety concern is an issue I’m worried about, but we’re hoping everybody follows the guidelines we give them. I told the teachers if anybody gets out of line, we’re going to dismiss them immediately from participating.”

Knight said the school ordered glasses for each student in seventh through 12th grades. A post on the school’s Facebook page Friday afternoon said the glasses had not come in yet though.

“If the glasses do not come in, or we are unable to obtain them from an alternate source, we will not be able to allow students to view the eclipse,” the post reads. “For now please send the viewing permission forms and will adjust as necessary.”

Morgan students in kindergarten through sixth grades will be allowed to view the eclipse inside on television.

Selma City Schools, Dallas County Schools and Meadowview Christian School have decided to not let their students view the eclipse outside.

Dallas County Superintendent Hattie Shelton said because they could not be 100 percent sure glasses would be approved, she did not want to put students and teachers at risk.

“The fact that I was unsure if we would have glasses that were absolutely correct for every child, I didn’t want to take that chance with children’s safety and teachers’ safety either,” Shelton said. “So I felt the best thing was for them to stay in class.”

Shelton said administrators and teachers have been instructed not to let students outside and have asked students that may have to go outside to travel to another class to not look up at the sun.

Arthur Capers, interim superintendent for Selma City Schools, said it was a tall task to go through glasses at every school to make sure they were safe.

“In order to circumvent that, we just will not let any of our students go out and look at the eclipse,” Capers said. “If one child slips by us and looks at the sun unprotected, then we are at risk, so rather than to risk it, I’d rather for none of them to do it.”

Meadowview Christian School Headmaster Micheal Blair said he felt the same way.

“You really can’t stick your neck out on a limb and have one get hurt, much less a bunch,” he said. “If you had the right kind of glasses, the welder’s glasses and that, it might be different, but we didn’t get our hands on that many.”

Dallas County, Selma City and Meadowview students will be allowed to view the eclipse inside on television and smartboards.

Shelton and Capers both said students that are checked out of school Monday will be excused.

Ellwood Christian Academy has not made plans at all for the eclipse.