Some Students Will be in Class on Eclipse Day

The total solar eclipse is going to be a day off for many, but a learning opportunity for some.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - It's about that time again where teachers, parents, and students gear up for the school year but getting ready for this year has been a little different because of the timing of the eclipse.

We went around the Midlands to find out how the total solar eclipse has impacted the plans for some school districts starting out the school year.

A big lesson is planned at the South Carolina Science Academy on their first day of class. Doctor Timothy Murph, says the total solar eclipse is a great way to start the school year.

"This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead a school that is focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Then to have a solar eclipse for the first time in 38 years in Columbia, it’s really a dream come true for us," said Murph.

The school is planning on building the whole day around the eclipse, even livestreaming the event inside the classrooms before they had outside to watch it unfold. The PTO is giving the kids a couple of fitting things.

"Not only provided our students with safety glasses to see the eclipse but they're also providing each student with a moon pie which I thought was a great treat for our students," explained Murph.

The SC Science Academy is not the only school that will be in that day. Sumter School District will be taking a half-day. They released the following statement:

“Sumter School District will be dismissed early on August 21 because of the solar eclipse.  Teachers at all levels have received resources to provide age appropriate instruction about the eclipse, safe viewing practices, and the historical significance of the event.   Sumter is fortunate to be within the 64 mile wide path of the full solar eclipse viewing area.  The early dismissal will allow our students to receive instruction while still having time to take advantage of viewing opportunities in the area with their families.”

Over in Kershaw County the students will start on August 17th but the school district says  on the day of eclipse they will have a half-day as well.

Part of the reason is because the event will be happening the same time students would get out on a typical school day for their district.

"We were mindful that some of our youngest learners would be learning their way to their bus stop or their car line and that kind of thing making that transition and so for that reason, we decided to go with a half day,” said Mary Anne Byrd with the school district.

When the kids go home after a half-day at school, Byrd says they'll still have a full day of learning.

"Being in a few days before the eclipse does allow our teachers the opportunity to talk to those students about what's going to take place, provide a little bit of learning before it actually occurs. So we think that's an advantage too," explained. Byrd.

Lee County School District originally had their schedule planned to have class on the day of the eclipse but they have since pushed it back to start on Tuesday, the 22nd.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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