EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Schools across the St. Louis metro are making plans for the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse. Edwardsville District 7 is the latest district giving students the day off on August 21 due to the once in a lifetime event.
The eclipse will be visible across the U.S. when the moon completely blocks the sun for about two minutes and 40 seconds around 1:18 p.m. that day. People across the metro will be able to see the duration of the eclipse from about noon to 2:30 p.m.
Experts say safety glasses must be worn when looking at the sun during the eclipse. Edwardsville District 7 is taking the stance that like any other environmental hazard, including snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures, the eclipse poses as a hazard to students.
Since the district cannot safely dismiss students at any time during the eclipse, students will have Eclipse Day off and will make up the day at the end of the school year.
Dunklin R-5 and Windsor C-1 school districts in Jefferson County also voted to cancel classes August 21. Traffic is one concern since an estimated one million people are expected to travel to the area to watch the eclipse.
St. Clair R-13 School District in Franklin County also canceled classes calling Eclipse Day “the event of the century.”
Some schools, however, plan to use the day as a teachable moment for students. The Francis Howell, Union, Affton and Mehlville schools districts along with Special School District of St. Louis County will be in session, and officials with each district say safety glasses have been purchased for every student so they can safely watch the eclipse.