The Saratoga Sun -

First day of school 'eclipsed'

CCSD No. 2 moves first day of school to Aug. 22 to accommodate solar eclipse


Carbon County School District No.2 (CCSD No.2) students not looking forward to having their summer vacations end Aug. 21 will get a one day reprieve before the beginning of the new school year thanks to a rare astronomical occurrence.

Monday, Aug. 21, a full solar eclipse will plunge Carbon County into near total darkness, with a 70-mile wide belt across the state plunged into complete darkness. Because the event is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the state, concerns about traffic and other logistic issues prompted the CCSD No. 2 board to vote to change the calendar for the first week of school.

The first week of the school year will begin Tuesday, Aug. 22, and run until Friday, Aug. 25. Originally, the school year was slated to start the day of the eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, and go until Thursday, Aug. 24.

At the CCSD No.2 board of trustees meeting Wednesday, trustees debated whether the eclipse warranted moving back the start of the school year by one day.

Jim Copeland, superintendent of CCSD No.2 school district said while there were valid reasons to change the date, he had no strong feelings about delaying the start of the school year or keeping the previously established schedule.

Trustees discussed the potential issues, pointing out traffic on area roads is expected to be very heavy the day of the eclipse, and combining that with an always hectic first day of school could be a concern.

Trustees pointed out many students may also have made plans to view the eclipse with their families, and may not come to school on the first day because of that.

There were also numerous government agencies suggesting the change, board members said.

Some science teachers had planned special lessons to use the eclipse as a teaching tool, one school principal said, and another school had received eclipse-viewing glasses and planned to hold an eclipse viewing event with students.

The event will still be held, but it will be optional for students to attend.

The total solar eclipse of Aug. 21 will start near Lincoln City, Oregon, and will traverse a path across the U.S. to South Carolina. The cities of Jackson and Casper are within the 70-mile wide belt of totality, where it will be completely dark.

Only a very small area of Northeast Carbon County will be in the area of totality. Most areas of the county will be above 90 percent dark during the eclipse.

The last time there was a similar eclipse visible coast-to-coast was in 1918, according to NASA. The next will be in 2045, according to the agency’s projections.

While the board decided to delay the start of school because of potential logistic al issues, the board elected to hold its next meeting at the scheduled time, 6 p.m. Aug. 21 at the CCSD No. 2 central office in Saratoga.


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