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Screven schools to enlighten students about solar eclipse

While some school systems in the region have chosen to take Aug. 21 as a “weather day” and close the schools, the Screven County system saw the solar eclipse event as a potential learning experience.
Screven County schools will stay in operation 30 additional minutes on Aug. 21 so students can witness the eclipse of the sun that will be visible to all of North America.
While Bulloch County schools will join Screven County in staying open extra minutes that day, Effingham County and Savannah-Chatham County Schools will be closed on Aug. 21 for students.
For those parents and guardians who do not wish for their children to participate in the viewing, an opt-out letter is available.
“While we are not in the direct path of a 100 percent eclipse, I have heard numbers as high as 98 percent in our area for about 7 minutes,” Superintendent William Bland told system staff in an email on Aug. 4. “Our administrative teams have met and feel like this would be a great learning opportunity for our students. We have developed a plan leading up to that day and for the event itself.”
Bland said that due to the fact that the eclipse will occur at approximately 2:45 p.m. the school day will be extended by 30 minutes for students.
“This will allow students and staff to view the event safely and prevent our buses and pick-up traffic from being on the roads during the event,” Bland said. “We will publicize our plan and develop common lesson plans to promote the safe of viewing the eclipse.”  
Bland said teachers were to be provided with lesson plans and additional resources before the end of this week. He said each school administrative team will develop a logistics plan for safe outside viewing on the day of the event.  
The superintendent said this event is weather-permitting.
“If it is a raining or heavy cloud cover, there is no need to go outside to view the eclipse,” Bland said. “However, regardless of the weather, we will adhere to the scheduled 30-minute delayed release. School administrators will have a back-up plan if the weather does not allow for the eclipse viewing.”
According to the school system’s plan, they will develop a system-wide lesson plan to present to all students to address the safety of not looking directly at the sun. Additional resources are available for teachers who want to do additional activities related to the eclipse.
An opt-out letter will be available for parents that do not want their child to participate in the outdoor viewing. A letter will be sent home as well as available on the school system’s web page that will need to be signed and returned. These students will remain in the building with supervision.
On the day of the event, all schools will develop a plan to take students outside by classrooms and observe the eclipse. The school system has ordered proper eye protection for everyone and will be provided. Teachers and other adults around will remind students to keep eye protection covering their eyes.
Dismissal time for all schools will be delayed by 30 minutes. This delay will be for all students: Parent pick-ups, student drivers, and bus riders. Parents will be informed that students should arrive home 30 minutes later than usual.
Information letters will be sent home, information posted on social media, and remind messages utilized.