August 18, 2017

On Monday, August 21, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will observe the first total solar eclipse in nearly 40 years! The district wants to help students get the most out of this exciting, historic, cosmic event and has several activities planned to make sure they enjoy it safely.

Select schools have planned events and purchased approved protective eyewear for their students to watch the eclipse including:

  • Longfellow STEM Middle School-Students have spent a week studying solar eclipses through a variety of hands-on activities including a visit from the Link Observatory in Martinsville for a special presentation. This learning adventure will culminate on Monday with the entire school (350 students) using certified protective glasses donated by the observatory to view the eclipse.
  • Center for Inquiry School 2-Students will attend interactive sessions on the solar eclipse, presented by an IUPUI astronomy instructor, at their school on Friday, August 18 from 10am-Noon. On Monday, the entire student body will observe the eclipse from a downtown location while wearing special protective eyewear.

Parents of students who will view the eclipse outside must sign a provided waiver before the school will allow the student to participate. Schools not planning outdoor events with protective eyewear will make sure their students are not outside at any point during the school day. Instead, those schools may allow students the opportunity to view a live stream of the eclipse online at https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive.

All schools will dismiss at their normal time.  Parents of students at schools dismissing before 3:45 p.m. will continue to be reminded to make sure their students wear hats, sunglasses, and any other productive gear when boarding the bus. Students will also be reminded to not look directly at the sun when boarding buses, while on the bus, or after leaving the bus.

“Student safety is always the top priority for the district. IPS consulted with local superintendents and researched national best practices as we approach the eclipse,” said IPS Operations Officer David B. Rosenberg. “We ask all students, parents and staff to adhere to these guidelines and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves during the eclipse.”

Finally, IPS understands that some families may wish to use the eclipse as an educational and enrichment opportunity for their students. For those who want to experience the solar eclipse outside of school, the district is offering an excused absence, with the appropriate documentation, but still stresses safety. Even at 91 percent blockage, you cannot look at the sun without protective eyewear.