Local school districts plan to turn the rare occurrence of the upcoming total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 into a learning opportunity and adjust their schedules accordingly.
Columbia County schools will delay their day by half an hour to prevent middle and high school students from having to be on buses during the eclipse.
In a statement, the school district also said, “The Columbia County School District views this event as an awesome learning opportunity for our students, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Accordingly, all content area teachers across all grade levels will provide instruction related to such occurrences beforehand and every student in the district will have the opportunity to view the eclipse while at school.”
The county will provide students and staff with the appropriate eye-wear for viewing the eclipse. Parents who do not wish for their children to participate in the viewing will have an opportunity to complete an opt-out form.
Richmond County schools will release early the day of the eclipse “to ensure all students and teachers are home safely during the darkest part of the eclipse.” Tier I schools will release at 10:45 a.m., Tier 2 at 11:30 a.m. and Tier 3 at 12:15 p.m. Students will discuss the eclipse in classes prior to Aug. 21 to learn about this event. All athletic events, practices and after school activities will be cancelled, including after school care programs.
Aiken County schools do not resume classes until Aug. 23 and will not be affected by the eclipse.
Aiken will find itself on the tail end of the eclipse’s path across the continental United States. The first total eclipse in North America in 38 years will make its way from Oregon to the east coast, ending in South Carolina.
Totality refers to the period during which the moon is completely covering the sun. Though the Augusta area doesn’t fall directly into the line of totality, it is estimated that 99.6 percent of the sun’s surface will be covered when watching from Augusta. Aiken’s close proximity to the totality zone will give its viewers the diamond ring effect.
The eclipse will occur between 1 and 4 p.m., with totality about 2:40 p.m., lasting about three minutes.