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An Important Update Regarding the Solar Eclipse Event on August 21st

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am sending this message to provide an update regarding the upcoming solar eclipse event that will impact our area on Monday, August 21.

As an educator, I find tremendous value in “teachable moments.” I believe that the upcoming solar eclipse provides our students with a unique opportunity to connect a real-world event to a concept they have only learned about in a textbook. As such, District 300 took a great deal of time to order safety glasses and to provide information for our teachers to incorporate into their lessons and activities.

Unfortunately, safety concerns require that I alter our participation at the elementary level.

Students in kindergarten through 4th grade will still have lessons connected to the eclipse. However, these students will view the event indoors via a live broadcast and will not participate outdoors. Students in grade 5 will be allowed to participate in the outdoor viewing if the teacher is comfortable doing so.

Why the change? Simply stated, I am concerned about the safety of our younger students for the following reasons:

  • The size of the eclipse glasses and the appropriateness of the fit are concerning for younger students.
  • The likelihood that the darkness of the tint may result in younger students looking over the lenses to get a better view.
  • Regardless of the time and emphasis placed on safety, some students may not fully grasp the fact that their eyes could be damaged if they stare at the partial eclipse.
  • The direct viewing of the partial eclipse does not trigger the same reflex that you would have if you try to stare directly at the sun. This reflex helps protect us from UV exposure that would otherwise injure us. We are expected to have a significant partial eclipse (estimated 80-90%).

There will be no change at the secondary level. Parents may complete an “opt out” form (attached to this email and a copy will be provided by each school) if they prefer to have their child receive an alternative activity during the outdoor viewing event. 

I know that some individuals may be disappointed and for that I am sorry. However, I hope parents and guardians understand that this is truly just a matter of ensuring that we prioritize our student safety.

Sincerely,

Fred Heid

Superintendent 

District 300 

District Office
Phone: 847-551-8300
Fax: 847-551-8413
Community Unit School District 300

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