Porta Community Unit School District #202

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Solar Eclipse and First Day of School August 21, 2017

 As many of you know, the first day of school (August 21st) is also the date of a very rare solar eclipse that will be near totality in our area.  We believe this is an amazing opportunity for our students to learn and witness the solar eclipse.  We are planning on an organized effort to allow students to witness and learn about the solar eclipse on the August 21st.  We have purchased solar viewing glasses, will live stream the solar eclipse to classrooms and other area’s in the buildings and have various activities designed to help student better understand the solar eclipse and rare nature of such an event.  While we feel this is a great learning experience, Safety of our children is our first priority and as such we will have a dedicated time period in which we will allow students outside under the supervision of staff to view the eclipse.  Students will understand the dangers of viewing an eclipse and safety will be stressed.  As always we would ask your help in emphasizing safety to your children when discussing the eclipse.
The plan will be to allow students to be outside (weather permitting) to view the eclipse between 12:50 to approximately 1:50 PM, with the near total eclipse taking place at 1:17 pm our time. Please see the link with the animated solar eclipse timeline.  During the hour period students will have the opportunity to view the eclipse and share learning opportunities. 
We invite parents who would like to participate to attend the event at your particular school.  All we ask is that you notify the office by phone or send a note with your student explaining you plan on attending the solar eclipse viewing.  This is a great opportunity for you to take part in a school event and you can help us insure the safety of our children. 
We understand some families might choose to drive to Southern Illinois in order to see the full eclipse and we are happy to excuse your child to do so.  We also understand some parents might not want their children to participate and will not send them to school on the 21st.  We understand your concerns as well. 
It is our goal to utilize this momentous occasion as a great learning opportunity and hope all can attend in some fashion or another.  We thought about sending buses to southern Illinois to view the eclipse but felt doing so would put students in danger because of the mass amount of viewers who are already traveling to the region for the eclipse.  We also considered delaying he opening day to avoid the eclipse, but felt many if not most children would not have the opportunity at home to view this wonderful phenomenon safely.
We thank you for your support in this endeavor, and reiterate we would love to have family participation in our activities for this once in a lifetime event.  We offer several attachments that may give you more information about the eclipse, safety tips for viewing and activities that can be completed.  We look forward to our 1st day of school on the 21st of August.  
Solar Eclipse Safety Tips
​Animated Solar Eclipse Timeline 
Solar Eclipse information
Solar eclipse viewer