Most Clark, Champaign schools will close to students during April’s solar eclipse

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Several local school districts in Clark and Champaign counties will close next year on April 8 as a full solar eclipse is excepted to be seen in Ohio.

Other districts will reschedule teacher professional development days or have school, but have ordered special glasses for students to see the solar eclipse.

The region will be a part of the path of totality, meaning the moon fully blocking the sun will be able to be seen from those cities. It’s expected the duration of the total solar eclipse would be roughly two to five minutes, depending on location, and is anticipated to start slightly after 3 p.m.

The Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA) is one of seven schools planning to close that day. GISA sent a letter to families in September about their plans to close school “due to all of the potential complications.”

“Springfield is in the direct path of the total solar eclipse ... While this brings a tremendous educational opportunity, it also brings with it tremendous challenges. This is especially true due to the timing of the eclipse,” Founding Director and Superintendent Josh Jennings said in the letter.

“Teachers are starting to think about it now and will certainly have assignments linked to the eclipse that will be appropriate and applicable. Our goal is to have materials such as glasses provided by the Clark County Combined Health District and Clark County EMA,” he added.

Springfield City and Tecumseh Local schools have moved a professional development day to be closed April 8 for students.

Tecumseh Superintendent Paula Crew said staff members will participate in professional learning via a virtual platform, which she said the Clark County EMA recommended to school districts during solar eclipse planning meetings.

“They indicated there will be a lot of potential traffic congestion on this day as it is anticipated that an influx of individuals will be in the area for the solar eclipse experience,” she said. “Tecumseh will err on the side of caution to ensure the safety of our students and staff members.”

All four Champaign County districts including Graham Local, Mechanicsburg Exempted Village, Urbana City and Triad Local, will also be closed, with most having a virtual professional development day.

Most county superintendents said they made this decision due to the expected traffic coming to the area and the potential delays and will provide staff and students with solar eclipse glasses.

“The decision was made because of the expected traffic the solar eclipse is expected to bring to the area,” said Graham Superintendent Chad Lensman. “Since the district is in the path of totality and a rural location, (the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce) expect many visitors to travel to the area. The extra traffic could bring safety issues or traffic jams as the visitors arrive and leave the area.”

Lensman said there will also be a time dedicated during the year to learn about this “once-in-a-lifetime” event.

“I am excited that our students are going to be able to get this experience right in their backyards. It is important that we promote safety and make this opportunity a fun educational learning experience for all of our students and families,” he said.

At Mechanicsburg, Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said the school property will be open to the public to view the solar eclipse, as well as putting out several informational and promotional pieces about events for the day in the area.

However, the districts that will remain open and have class that day include Greenon, Northeastern and Northwestern local schools, who have all ordered the proper eyewear for students to learn more and have educational lessons about the solar eclipse.

Southeastern Local Schools has not yet made a decision as to if schools will be open or closed and are considering several options.

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