Teachers take several safety precautions ahead of solar eclipse

Teachers take several safety precautions ahead of solar eclipse
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Students in an entire school district are ready and waiting for the solar eclipse on Monday.

Halie Hunt teaches fifth-grade science and social studies at the International Studies Magnet School.

Hunt said she has activities related to the solar eclipse planned for every subject.

"It will be across the curriculum," Hunt said. "Math, science, social studies, reading, writing, and spelling. Something we will be doing in the classroom, we are going to be doing reading activities. We will learn the difference between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse. We are also plotting and graphing the coordinates of the totality path the solar eclipse will take. And ultimately, we are going to write in response to the article that we've read about what the difference in a solar and lunar eclipse is and our students will get to learn both styles of an eclipse."

Hunt said the students are excited about the event.

"There's been a lot of buzz and chatter about it," Hunt said. "The kids are asking about what they're going to see and what it's going to look like. And I have to admit, I'm trying not to give all the secrets away because I want to see their expressions and see how they feel about it and what it looks like through their eyes."

And while it's great to have fun, Assistant Superintendent William Cheatham said the safety of the students is their top priority.

To ensure that, he said they have put a number of safety protocols in place.

"Number one, is informing everyone that this is okay, we just have to take precautions," Cheatham said. "Number two, you've got to get the specific viewing glasses. Ms. Carol Neeves did a great job of finding ones that are approved by AAS and NASA. Unfortunately, some schools went out and purchased glasses and discovered they weren't safe. And that's our number one safety, the glasses because those are going to protect our eyes. You have to have those in place before you can do anything else. So, she's done that. She distributed to all the students in all the campuses. Even all the faculty has a pair. She also made a video for teachers. How to model for students on how to put the glasses on. We're not just telling them how to do it. They have a video they can go watch and observe."

Physical Education and recess classes will be staying inside on Monday.

Teachers are being told to close the blinds on their classroom windows or cover them with paper if they don't have blinds or curtains.

Cheatham also said not everyone will be viewing the eclipse from outside.

"Our Pre-K and Kindergarten students are not going to watch it," Cheatham said. "They're going to watch it inside on live stream. We've also given permission to our teachers and principals if you don't feel comfortable then you don't have to go out, don't worry about it. We also sent home a permission form and are requiring every student that wants to view this must get the consent form signed and brought back prior to Monday."

Hunt said the timing of the eclipse is perfect for their current curriculum.

"It also fits perfectly with our new Next Generation Science Standards for the state of Arkansas," Hunt said. "It correlates with patterns and things they will see in connecting night and day and shadows and it just fits perfectly with our curriculum. This all happened perfectly at the right time."

Faculty and students alike seem equally excited about what's to come on Monday.

"Oh, it is absolutely wonderful," Hunt said. "This is not something I've ever had the experience of seeing personally. And so, I know I'll enjoy seeing it with my students and sharing this moment together."

"I'm just a big kid," Cheatham said. "I'm excited. I can't wait. I've got my glasses and I've been figuring out where I want to go. Because I want to be where the kids are. I want to see their excitement. I'll be just as excited as them."

Cheatham said everyone has worked hard to make sure the event is both fun and safe for everyone.

"We've really tried to put together a good, safe and secure plan and a process that everyone can understand and take full advantage of during this unique experience," he said.

Around 5,000 students in the Jonesboro Public School system will be viewing the eclipse on Monday.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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