PHOTO: Over the weekend, DeKalb County Schools was notified that the glasses that were purchased for viewing the eclipse were not, "sourced from a recommended manufacturer," and were not recommended for use. Students will be able to view the eclipse via live streaming, and the school will excuse any absence due to families wishing to view the event together. (Wikimedia.org | "Solar Eclipse")
By Staff Reports
RAINSVILLE, Ala. — In a release issued yesterday, DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Barnett said: The great American Eclipse has been perhaps the most hotly debated scientific event in many years. It has garnered much interest and enthusiasm from the scientific and educational communities. During this time, many educators have been busily planning activities and lessons surrounding the eclipse. We hope to provide many wonderful lessons and activities to our students regarding the eclipse leading up to August 21st.
Unfortunately, over the weekend, Amazon sent us an e-mail stating that they have, “not received confirmation from the supplier of your order that they sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer. We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse.” In a later release, they suggested that their warning only applies to the glasses that failed to provide certification, and most recently, other news outlets’ investigative journalism has found that some glasses that have been marketed as meeting the minimum requirements are actually not up to standard when tested.
This information is concerning to me from multiple standpoints. 1. Student safety is a top priority, and I do not believe that we can or should allow students to use equipment in which the seller questions the validity of the product. They have stated they will reimburse us for these products; we will in turn reimburse the school and/or person who paid for the glasses. 2. If items, whose manufacturers claim to meet the requirements do not meet standards when tested, how do we know that we are providing the proper equipment?
In light of this recent information, I have weighed out the concerns, the opportunities and the educational values of such an event and want to capture the benefits of the eclipse; however, with the value, we must weigh the risks. With the current information received regarding the glasses we have ordered and the inaccuracy of some of the labeling reported on glasses, DeKalb County students will be viewing the eclipse from their classroom through live streaming via the internet. This should allow the teachers to provide lessons and activities educating our students on the effects of an eclipse on our planet, animal and plant life, and the atmospheric changes from a safe and controlled environment. Students will not be allowed outside of the school building during the eclipse, which is set to being at 12:01 PM and is set to expire at 2:58PM. I want to add that in the safety of all our students, we will delay car-riders and bus-loading until 3:00PM for this day only.
I want to iterate that I do apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, but I want to maintain that student safety is a top priority. As a parent, I have been digesting and debating over the most recent information during the last twenty-four hours. My recent concerns have been compounded by warnings of optometrists, scientists, etc. At this time, I have concerns regarding the safety of my own children and am not fully comfortable with them viewing the eclipse in this manner; I can’t in good conscience allow children in our school system to be subjected to risks that I have concerns about with my own two children. I recognize and appreciate the value and rarity of this event, but I think that outdoor viewing of the solar eclipse should be placed in the hands of the parents/guardians of our students.
While we want to take caution with our students, we understand that parents may want to take advantage of this opportunity in a different manner, and due to that, the school will excuse the absence of any child whose parents choose to keep them out due to the eclipse or desires to check them out to view as a family.