⚫ It's early dismissal in one NJ school district due to April's solar eclipse

☀ School officials say students would be outside unsupervised during the event

⚫ This could cause serious eye issues

LIVINGSTON — Public schools in the Essex County township have decided to close early one day next month due to potential dangers from the solar eclipse.

In a letter to the Livingston Public Schools community, Superintendent Matthew J. Block wrote that the public schools will close early on April 8 due to concern that students will be outside and unsupervised during the eclipse.

“Several community members have expressed concern about the solar eclipse that will occur on the afternoon of Monday, April 8, 2024, from approximately 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Since the eclipse will occur during the regularly scheduled school dismissal times, many of our students would be outside and unsupervised during the eclipse,” Block wrote.

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 (Ryan Zweier)
Total Solar Eclipse 2017 (Ryan Zweier)

The concern is that unless children are properly supervised, they could be drawn to look up at the eclipse. Without proper eye equipment, this can cause damage to their eyes.

Block went on to say that school officials consulted with the district physician, who agreed with the concern. The doctor added that the glare and distraction caused by the solar eclipse could also “present a challenge with driving during this time, which might negatively impact the safety of our parents, staff, and bus drivers.”

Eclipse glasses from 2017 (Ryan Zweier)
Eclipse glasses from 2017 (Ryan Zweier)

As a result of these concerns, the Livingston Board of Education approved, at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 4, to modify April 8 from a regularly scheduled day to an early dismissal day.

What does this mean? It means the Livingston elementary schools and the high school will be dismissed at noon on Monday, April 8. The Mount Pleasant Middle School and Heritage Middle Schools will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. on that day.

Lunch will not be served. All outdoor activities on April 8, 2024, will also be halted from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., which is prime solar eclipse time.

If you do plan on watching the near-total eclipse, be sure to have proper eyewear, which can be purchased online and at planetariums across the Garden State.

More details about the near-total solar eclipse in New Jersey, visit here.

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