COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton County School System (NCSS) will delay dismissal by 45 minutes on Monday, Aug. 21 due to the expected solar eclipse, and its impact on the area. While an eclipse provides a wonderful educational moment it can also be dangerous if one looks directly at the sun. Erring on the side of caution, the district will delay dismissal and release students, for this day only, at the following times:
Elementary Schools – 2:55 p.m.
Middle Schools – 5 p.m.
High Schools – 4 p.m.
Although there will not be a total solar visible in Newton County, a partial eclipse is still dangerous enough to cause concern for student and staff safety. Predictions call for the darkest part of the eclipse to take place during the normal times of dismissal for our must vulnerable students, those in elementary schools.
“Delaying dismissal will ensure that our students are under the supervision and guidance of adults during the most dangerous time period of the eclipse,” said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County School System. “This decision was made with the safety and well-being of all students and staff in mind.”
NCSS instructional coaches are working to provide educational resources to allow students to witness and learn about this rare occurrence in our solar system.
“We plan to use this as a teachable moment since according to www.eclipsewise.com, the next two solar eclipses visible in Georgia will not take place until Aug. 12, 2045 and March 30, 2052, making our 2017 kindergarten students 33 years old and 40 years old for the next two viewings,” Fuhrey said. “We have purchased solar eclipse viewing glasses for elementary school students and will explain the viewing dangers to all students. Delaying student dismissal by 45 minutes is the best way to ensure the safety of our students and staff and also allows us to utilize a real-life scientific event as an educational opportunity.”