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Schools to delay dismissal for Aug. 21 eclipse

Pike County will experience a solar eclipse the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 21 in what will likely be the biggest event in astronomy this year. The peak time for the solar eclipse coincides with dismissal times for Pike County pre-K, primary and elementary schools and the school system will delay dismissal by one hour to keep students from looking up at the sun and damaging their eyesight. DISMISSAL TIMES FOR TODAY, MONDAY, AUGUST 21: High school – 3 p.m. Ninth Grade Academy – 3:10 p.m. Middle School – 3:20 p.m. Elementary School – 3:45 p.m. Primary School – 4 p.m. Pre-K – 4:15 p.m. Since solar glasses ordered by the school system were not recommended for use by students, all outdoor solar eclipse activities at Pike schools have been cancelled. During a solar eclipse, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, blocking the light of the sun. ’To ensure the safety of our students, pre-k, primary and elementary schools will delay dismissal by one hour. The Ninth Grade Academy, middle and high schools will dismiss at their regularly-scheduled times,’ said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. ‘NASA has issued guidelines for watching the eclipse. Children should be carefully supervised when using solar filters to view the eclipse. The school district will provide approved eyewear for students and staff. Out of an abundance of caution, the pre-K and primary school students will remain indoors during the eclipse. Parents may choose to pick-up their child at the typical dismissal time if they feel it is best.’ For areas that are not in the path of totality – including Pike County and surrounding areas – the partial eclipse will begin at 1:05 p.m., maximum darkness will be at 2:36 p.m. and the eclipse will end at 4:01 p.m. Total solar eclipses are rare and this will be the first solar eclipse to be visible as a partial eclipse from coast to coast in the United States since 1918. During the eclipse, viewers will see the moon slowly eat a large chunk of the sun and the sky will darken considerably. The sun will not be visible, so solar sunglasses will not be needed until it reappears a minute or so later. During that time, viewers will see stars they don’t normally see in the daytime. Even if the sky is completely overcast, viewers will see sunset, the darkness of night and sunrise compressed into three hours between 1-4 p.m. Birds and farm animals will bed down for the night, and roosters will crow during the false dawn. Thousands of eclipse enthusiasts from across the U.S. and abroad are expected to make the trek to an area of totality that day. Northeastern Georgia locations including Brasstown Bald, Blue Ridge, Blairsville, Helen, Hiawassee, Clarkesville, Toccoa and Clayton will all experience the total eclipse with Clayton having the longest period of totality at two minutes, thirty seconds.

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