No eclipse viewing for county students



Superintendent cites safety concerns for students’ vision in making the decision


RED BAY | When next week’s heavily anticipated near-total solar eclipse occurs, students in the Franklin County school system will be inside the classroom, not directly watching the event.

Superintendent Greg Hamilton said Monday he had made the decision for county students to not directly view the eclipse due to concerns that have arisen over the potential for vision damage.

“It’s an important event, but we don’t want to, per doctor recommendations, put any of our students at risk on it,” Hamilton said. “This could cause damage to eyesight.”

Several warnings have been issued as time draws near to the event that using improper viewing glasses or even looking at the eclipse directly with the naked eye can have harmful effects on a person’s vision, even the to point of blinding an individual.

Hamilton said there was no way the county could make sure every student viewing the eclipse could or would do so in a safe manner. The limited equipment the schools have on hand is not sufficient for viewing and there isn’t enough to be shared around.

“The glasses that come with our AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative) kits are not compliant (with solar viewing standards),” Hamilton said.

Additionally, while some school districts are closing for the day next Monday, it will be a regular school day here.

“It is a significant event and it’s part of our curriculum but we feel this is the best way to handle it,” Hamilton said. “We’ll watch the news coverage of it and the teachers have many ways of making the event an educational experience inside the classroom.”

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