Aug. 14, 2017
On Monday afternoon, Aug. 21, Pinellas County will experience a partial solar eclipse.
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun and partially blocks the sun. The partial solar eclipse will begin at 1:17 p.m. and last until 4:13 p.m. with a maximum coverage at 2:49 p.m.
Although it is always unsafe to look at the sun, it can be especially dangerous during an eclipse because you may not know that damage is occurring. Observing the sun can damage the eyes if proper precautions are not taken. To minimize the likelihood of students looking directly at the sun and risking damage to their eyes, the district is asking that, before Aug. 21, parents talk to their children about the eclipse, the dangers of looking directly at the sun and the potential damage that looking at the sun can cause to their eyes.
In the interest of safety, Pinellas County Schools is highly recommending that students, faculty, and staff view the eclipse virtually through a live broadcasted feed provided by NASA.
Parents are asked to use an abundance of caution while driving during the time of the eclipse, and to be especially careful in the parent pickup areas at schools to avoid distracted drivers, students and pedestrians. Regular dismissal will not be affected.
For more information on the risks of looking directly at the sun, please see this Scientific American informational article, “Science Says Why We Can’t Look at the Sun,” by Rachael Rettner.
If a viewing activity is organized by a teacher as part of a science lesson, it is required that the teacher receive signed parent permission for each participating student. All participants must use solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 International Safety Standard.
If you have questions, please contact your child’s school principal.