Why Are Schools Closing for the Eclipse? Here's What You Need to Know

The impressive swath of territory the event will be visible from stretches for 115 miles, from Texas to Maine.

Melissa Willets - Author

Mar. 26 2024, Updated 10:47 a.m. ET

total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017
Source: Getty Images

A solar eclipse is a rare event, and occurs when the moon passes between Earth, and the sun.

A total solar eclipse blocks the sun's rays completely. This is what will take place on April 8, 2024. The last total solar eclipse happened on Aug. 21, 2017. The next one isn't for 20 years!

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Given the rarity of the planetary positioning, it's bound to make for an interesting day. But why are some schools closing completely for the solar eclipse? Here's what to know.

Little girl wearing protective eyewear outside Franklin Institute, in Center City Philadelphia, PA to see the Solar Eclipse, on Aug. 21, 2017
Source: Getty Images
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So, why are some schools closing for the solar eclipse?

Protective eyewear is a must when viewing the solar eclipse. According to NASA, "Viewing any part of the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury."

Likewise, the naked eye, or even regular sunglasses aren't safe, per US Consumer Reports.

As such, although admittedly a rare solar event is a great learning opportunity for millions of kids across the country, per Today, for safety reasons, some schools have decided to close on April 8.

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Indeed, in areas of New York state and Philadelphia, schools are shuttering in an effort to protect children, especially since the solar eclipse is set to take place right around the time many would be dismissed.

For instance, Pittsburgh area Pine-Richland School District explained in detail about the call to close school.

"The potential is significant for students to be tempted to view it without proper safety precautions while exiting the school building or while getting off of the school bus," the school said.

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Some universities are also closed on April 8.

Adam White, executive director of communications at the University of Vermont, explained that "scheduled classes may limit the opportunities for engagement with this integrative learning opportunity."

Instead, students are invited to participate in a day of "alternative instruction."

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A total of 15 states will be in the path of the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

If you live in one of the 15 states in the path of this total solar eclipse event, check to see if your local schools are closing.

The impressive swath of territory the event will be visible from stretches for 115 miles, from Texas to Maine.

As many as 32 million Americans will get to see this extraordinary yet potentially-dangerous and historic moment. Among the best places to view the solar eclipse are Dallas, Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas, Indianapolis, Indiana, Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York.

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Should you be lucky enough to be in the viewing path of the event, be sure to stock up on proper protective eyewear. Here's a list of glasses approved by the American Astronomical Society.

If you aren't going to be part of this event, well, it's business as usual then — school, work, and perhaps only a partial view of the rare sight of the moon passing between the sun and our planet. Better luck in two decades getting a front row seat (and perhaps a day off!).

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