Seminole County alters plans due to solar eclipse


photo by Ahilyn Aguilar

Freshman Hunter Soto prepares for the viewing of the solar eclipse. One of the safe ways to look at the eclipse is to use NASA approved eclipse glasses.

On Monday, Aug. 21, after 38 years Floridians will have the opportunity to experience a rare sighting: a partial solar eclipse. Seminole County is preparing schools for the eclipse and providing safety advisories for students and staff to follow.

The eclipse will not reach full totality in Central Florida, but Florida will still witness the moon cover 85 percent of the sun’s disk, resembling dusk. The eclipse is scheduled to start at 1:26 p.m. and last until 4:20 p.m, reaching its peak at 2:51 p.m.

Since the school day ends after the beginning of the eclipse, the county is allowing students to be dismissed by their parents at 12:30 p.m. The absence will count as excused and in order to make the process more efficient, administration will be setting up tables for check out outside building one.

Even though the school has a normal dismissal time, those students who prefer to leave early can only be checked out by the parent of record in Skyward, who is required to have a photo ID.

“We advise parents to please make plans ahead of time with their students” Principal Mary Williams said. “We ask them to be patient as we are expecting long lines.”

Due to the eclipse, all outdoor activities such as band and football practice will be either held indoors or rescheduled until the event is over. One rescheduled event is the golf tournament, which will be now held Tuesday, Aug. 22.

In addition to this, teachers will not be allowed to take students outside unless they have a class set of proper, approved eyewear. Those who do, are permitted to take students outside for 10 minutes after having the principal’s approval.  

“The school will protect the students by following proper advisement and supervision,” Williams said. “We encourage students to not look directly at the sun. This can cause serious eye damage or blindness.”

The day of the eclipse, events will be held locally at University of Central Florida and Seminole State College and all residents are invited to attend. At UCF, the Planetary Sciences Group will be hosting a viewing session and will be providing telescopes, explanations and eclipse glasses in order to view the solar eclipse safely.

Junior Matt Byers plans on attending the SSC observing event in the Buehler Planetarium. Here, visitors will have the option to attend short presentations about the eclipse and will be provided with glasses, binoculars and telescopes.

“SSC is letting everyone look at the solar eclipse in a fun and safe way, which is a good opportunity for people like me who are interested in space,” Byers said.

More coverage regarding the eclipse will be available Monday in and HagertyJourn on snapchat.