A rare, near-total solar eclipse has prompted Dougherty County School System leaders to extend the school day for elementary students in order to ensure student safety and to maximize learning opportunities.
In the early afternoon on Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth, causing a solar eclipse that will traverse the entire North American continent. In Albany, residents can expect to see about 90% totality between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. with the peak happening around 2:30 p.m.
Elementary students typically dismiss from school at 2:30 p.m., which is the reason why system officials decided to delay school for an additional hour for those students. Staff and students are also being provided with NASA-certified solar viewing glasses, which will allow them to look at the eclipse safely.
"By extending the school day by an additional hour, we avoid turning thousands of elementary-aged students loose during the height of the solar eclipse where they could get hurt," DCSS Spokesperson J.D. Sumner said. "Keeping students an additional hour allows teachers and staff to let them safely experience this rare event while maximizing the learning opportunity."
Students who ride buses at the middle and high school levels will also likely experience a delay as bus routes are run across the county. The district is asking parents to be patient with the system as we work to make sure students are returned home safely.
The system has also created a web page dedicated to the eclipse that includes learning materials, safety information and copies of parent letters that were sent out. You can find that page by clicking here.