Ja’Niyah Benton, 10, and Isaiah Jenkins, 11, try on some eclipse glasses in the office at Lincoln Elementary School Friday. They both were amazed at how dark the glasses are. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield schools, residents prepare for Monday’s solar eclipse

Clark County residents are preparing to watch the solar eclipse Monday, from schools changing dismissal times to handing out solar eclipse glasses to golfers.

About 87 percent of the sun will covered by the moon at 2:30 p.m. in Springfield. It’s important to remember not to look at the solar eclipse without the proper eye protection, Wittenberg University Physics and Space Professor Dan Fleisch said.

“In Springfield, people must use protection the entire time,” Fleisch said. “There is no safe time in Springfield to watch the eclipse without glasses.”

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The solar eclipse won’t turn day into night like some residents might expect, Fleisch said, because just 10 percent of the sun is brighter than 50,000 full moons. People in Springfield should expect it to turn only slighter darker than usual, he said, and animals won’t act any differently.

“It’s not like the sun is going away in Springfield,” he said.

However he said the partial solar eclipse on Monday is only an appetizer to what’s to come. Springfield is in the path of a total solar eclipse that will happen in 2024, he said.

Though the eclipse Monday won’t be as dramatic as some might hope, the sun will still be significantly blocked by the moon from about 1 to 4 p.m. in Springfield. That’s prompted local schools and organizations to take extra precautions and plan fun events around it.

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Southeastern Local Schools decided Friday night that it would close on Monday, saying on its Twitter feed that it apologized for the inconvenience to parents but believed it was the “best course of action for the safety of our students.” Southeastern cited the possible danger to students’ vision from the solar eclipse during dismissal times.

Many of the Springfield City School District schools plan to have an activity for students during the eclipse. At Horace Mann, the school has purchased 500 solar eclipse glasses and with permission from parents, will take students outside during the event. Other schools are also having fun.

“Many of our classrooms already have events planned and have purchased glasses or filters that allow safe viewing,” Springfield Superintendent Bob Hill said in an email to staff. “Others have arranged to view via real time streaming from NASA or other sources.”

City schools won’t dismiss early because no schools get off during peak eclipse time, Hill said.

Over at Tecumseh Middle and High School, students will view the eclipse on the NASA website and will dismiss 20 minutes later than usual due to the eclipse. Because of the delay in dismissal, elementary school parents should expect their students to get home a little later than usual Monday, Superintendent Norm Glismann said.

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Clark-Shawnee Local Schools sent a permission slip home with students Thursday to let their children view the eclipse with proper eye protection. Greenon primary students will stay indoors during the eclipse while Indian Valley and Greenon High School students can view the eclipse with proper eye protection and a waiver signed by parents.

Northeastern Superintendent John Kronour said individual buildings might or might not host special events and parents should contact the school to learn more.

The National Trail Parks and Recreation District will host an event at its Mitchell Boulevard office during the eclipse. Executive Director Leann Castillo said the event is for students ages 6 and up, but expects not too many kids will show up because it’s during school time.

‘We will have a limited supply of solar eclipse glasses but it is highly encouraged that you bring your own,” Castillo said. “We want to make the event as fun as possible.”

Champaign County also will celebrate the eclipse. The main library branch in Urbana and the branch in North Lewisburg will host a solar eclipse viewing party starting at 1:30 p.m. Its website says solar eclipse glasses will be provided.

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce planned its golf outing almost a year ago before the eclipse was commonly known. Many golfers participating in the 27th annual P. Dennis Sheehan Chamber Golf Open Memorial will be on the links during the eclipse.

“What we have done is for the safety of the players, volunteers and staff, we got a sponsor for solar eclipse glasses and those will be handed out at the event,” chamber Membership Director Eric Sirons said.

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