A rare event in the skies will occur on Aug. 21 when Fayette and Coweta counties will experience a near-total solar eclipse. Public schools in the two counties will have the school day extended and safety glasses provided for students wanting to view the eclipse.
In Fayette County public schools, the school day on Aug. 21 will be extended by one hour. The maximum local eclipse viewing time is 2:36 p.m. The school system will provide safety glasses for those students viewing the eclipse, and with teacher supervision, said school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.
While a permission form is not necessary, the school system will provide a notification form that, if returned by parents, will indicate their consent for their child to participate in viewing the eclipse, Berry-Dreisbach said.
The notification letter was sent to parents on Aug. 10.
Arrival times for Aug. 21 will remain the same. Parents can check out their students earlier than the delayed dismissal time if they chose. The delayed dismissal times are as follows: elementary schools – 3:25 p.m., middle schools – 4:10 p.m. and high schools – 4:45 p.m.
In Coweta County public schools, elementary schools are extending their day by 30 minutes. The maximum eclipse will happen at 2:36 p.m. that day, so elementary schools will not dismiss until 3 p.m., said school system spokesman Dean Jackson.
That will avoid safety concerns of students traveling during the maximum effect, and supervision of students during the eclipse. Middle and high schools will likely dismiss as they normally do, at 3:30 p.m., but the elementary delay will delay some bus departures for those grades, said Jackson.
“The school system and a business partner have also purchased eclipse-safe observation glasses for every student and teacher in the system in elementary, middle and high schools,” Jackson said. “So all students will be able to take advantage of the opportunity and observe the eclipse that day, though parents who want to can opt their student out.”
Jackson said a letter was sent home to parents on the first day of school and the school system will send additional communications detailing dismissal procedures.
For more information on the eclipse visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites.default/files/publications/Safety_508.pdf.