August 21, 2017
It is not often that we have the opportunity to experience a natural phenomenon like a coast-to-coast, total solar eclipse! As a matter of fact, Virginia Middle School was barely 2 years old the last time it happened. Our students have a unique opportunity to view the eclipse on the same grounds that our predecessors did 99 years ago!
On August 21, 2017, the moon will pass between earth and the sun for the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. Millions of Americans in 12 states will be able to watch the solar spectacle that will turn day into night for a brief period of time. Virginia is among the 12 states that have been declared to be a best place to experience this rare phenomenon.
We are planning now for students to participate in the event by creating lessons and activities to make the most of the educational experience. The school system has also purchased special eclipse glasses for students and employees. The glasses are ISO 12312-2 compliant and CE certified.
While we are excited to share this learning opportunity with students, the sun and moon decided to put on the best part of the show in the midst of dismissal time for us (which also happens to be the most unsafe time to view the event without eye protection). Many options were considered regarding how we might adjust our schedule for the phenomenon, each with pros and cons. After weighing what was in the best interest of students, especially related to safety and education, we decided to extend the school day by fifteen minutes so students can enjoy the peak of the eclipse safely, with adult supervision and then be safely dismissed. We are excited to celebrate this event together, but we also understand and support our families who would like to enjoy it together.
A big thank you to Bristol Tennessee City Schools for sharing ideas about the viewing of the eclipse as a division!