Carrollton Elementary School students practice using eclipse shades donated by the University of West Georgia in preparation for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse that will occur during the school day. School dismissals will be delayed as a result of the event. Pictured, standing, are Carrollton City Schools Supt. Dr. Mark Albertus, CES Principal Amanda Carden and UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero.

CARROLLTON, GA –  A scientific marvel not to be missed will occur later this month, providing an exceptional learning opportunity for students but also requiring extra precautions to ensure their safety.

Carrollton City Schools, along with other schools in the area, will delay the release of all students on Monday, Aug. 21,  until a rare solar eclipse passes through the county. Carrollton Elementary School will dismiss at 3:00, Carrollton Middle School at 3:15, Carrollton High School at 4:00,  and Carrollton Junior High School at 4:10.

The eclipse is expected to be a 97 percent event in this area with a narrow band from Oregon to South Carolina,  including the northeastern corner of Georgia, experiencing a total eclipse of the sun.  The eclipse will peak about 2:30 p.m., which is right at dismissal time for CES and CMS. School officials note that by delaying school dismissal and supervising students until the eclipse passes is an effort to ensure safety for all students.

While the phenomenon will be exciting to observe, it also presents a great learning opportunity, said Anna Clifton, assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning for Carrollton City Schools. Science and other classroom teachers, prekindergarten to 12th grade, have been meeting regularly to determine how to capitalize on the event from a teaching perspective.

“Teachers at all grade levels have been developing plans to take full advantage of this  rare astronomical event,” said Clifton. “It will be one our students and staff will always remember.”

A partnership with the University of West Georgia will allow students and staff to view the eclipse safely, thanks to a donation of 6,000 shades featuring specialized filters to ensure eye protection.

“We are so appreciative of UWG for reaching out to provide the safety shades,” said Clifton. “This will allow all of our students and staff to participate in this exciting observance.”

According to a NASA press release, the eclipse will be visible – weather permitting – across all of North America. The entire continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. Anyone within a 70-mile-wide path that stretches through 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total eclipse. During those brief moments – when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for about two minutes – day will turn into night, making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well. Birds will fly to their nighttime roosts. Nocturnal insects such as cicadas and crickets will buzz and chirp. NASA notes that this is truly one of nature’s most wondrous experiences.
To learn more about the eclipse and to find educational resources, visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/.
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