County schools plan a “phenomenal” extended day for upcoming solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

Plans are underway for a phenomenal day in Thomas County Schools as students, teachers, and staff observe “The Great American Solar Eclipse” on August 21. To allow students to fully appreciate the experience, the school day in Thomas County Schools will be extended by 30 minutes on the day of the eclipse.

While Thomas County will not see a total eclipse, expectations are that the moon will cover approximately 90% of the sun for a brief period, enough to create a dramatic effect and illustrate the phenomena of an eclipse.

In the early summer, the Thomas County School System began making plans for the August 21st solar eclipse. The school system has acquired 7,000 solar eclipse glasses, one for every teacher, student, staff member, and parent volunteer.

With this being the first time since 1918 that the United States has experienced this type of eclipse, teachers are shifting their curriculum to make this an unforgettable and "phenomenal" instructional experience. Grade-level lesson plans have been distributed to all of the schools. 

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us that we will not soon forget,” said Dr. Scott Sweeting, Math and Science Instructional Coordinator for Thomas County Schools. “I am so grateful to our school system for being so supportive and capitalizing on this phenomenal teaching moment in our student's lives. I have never been more proud to be a Yellow Jacket!”

According to Sweeting, the eclipse will begin at 1:05 p.m., while maximum coverage will occur at 2:36 p.m., and the event will end at 4:01 p.m. The speed at which this will occur is approximately 1 percent coverage per minute. 

Sweeting said, “Thomasville will not experience totality, but instead approximately 87-90% coverage of the sun.”

The school system has acquired special glasses which are safe for solar viewing to allow students to view the eclipse. School officials warn that individuals should not attempt to view the eclipse without approved safety glasses. Teachers are preparing students for the event and teaching them how to use their glasses to view the eclipse. Children will be closely monitored, and parents who do not wish for their children to participate may opt their children out of the event.

The amount of time that students will be outside will vary slightly by school but will be approximately an hour on average. 

“Learning about and seeing the solar eclipse may spark an interest in science for some students,” Sweeting said. “We are excited about this rare opportunity to share a first-hand science lesson with the students!”


Solar Eclipse Opt Out Form 


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