On August 21, 2017, parts of Nebraska will be in the path of a total solar eclipse. This is the first time since 1918 a solar eclipse will be visible on a path across the entire continental United States, and the event presents an exciting learning opportunity for our students. We plan to incorporate the eclipse into our curriculum, activities, and events of your child’s day.
On Monday, August 21st, all K-12 students will be participating in a series of solar eclipse themed activities located at the Fairbury Jr/Sr High School complex. During this period of time (approximately 10:00am – 2:00pm), students will be mostly outdoors. Sunscreen and water bottles will be provided for all students through the generous support of Jefferson Community Health & Life and First National Bank of Fairbury. Students are encouraged to dress for the weather and are permitted and encouraged to wear a school appropriate hat. Our school lunch on this day has been planned to include fresh, local 100% beef hamburgers. Due to the logistics of feeding over 1000 students, staff and volunteers, all students are expected and should plan to eat this day’s school lunch.
While this is an excellent learning opportunity for our students, we want to notify you of some risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse. It is only safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye when the moon completely covers the disk of the sun. At any other time it is not safe to view the eclipse without the proper precautionary measures. Failure to adhere to proper precautionary measures could result in permanent ocular damage and vision loss. For more information, here is a link to an explanation released by NASA: https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety2.html.
As always, your child’s safety is a top priority for our school. In order to reduce the risk associated with viewing the eclipse, we have taken some precautionary measures. We purchased eclipse-safe viewing glasses, and students will be required to use these to view the eclipse safely. Students will be discouraged from looking at the eclipse during its partial stages when risk of ocular damage is at its greatest. Teachers will also provide a safety lesson and instructions to students. However, despite these measures we cannot eliminate all risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse of this magnitude.
If there are any questions or concerns regarding the specific activities and procedures for the eclipse that will be incorporated into your child’s school day, please contact your child’s teacher or a school administrator for more details. Parents and guardians who do not feel comfortable allowing their children to take part in viewing the eclipse will be permitted to withhold their child from all or part of school that day, and we will excuse those absences on your child’s record. We will also provide a means to allow your child to make up any missed instructional time and classwork if they are absent for some or all of that day. If your child attends school that day, he or she will be included in the eclipse viewing activities we have planned. Fairbury Public Schools is excited to offer this fun cooperative learning opportunity to students for this rare event!