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Eclipse Information

As you may know, on April 8th, 2024, a total solar eclipse will make its way across the United States. While Park Ridge will not be in the line of a total solar eclipse, we will experience a partial solar eclipse. For us, the eclipse will start a little after 2:00pm and last approximately two and a half hours. The peak of the partial eclipse will be around 3:30pm, after dismissal for all schools. All Park Ridge schools will operate on a normal schedule, and East Brook and West Ridge will be able to have outdoor recess - weather-permitting of course! 
While this is an exciting event, it also comes with its own dangers. Normally, we aren’t tempted to look directly at the sun. However, during an event like this, it is possible to overcome your aversion to the sun’s glare and try to ‘steal a glimpse’ to see what is happening. Even more dangerous, the overload of solar radiation on your retina might not be noticeable until it is too late - often people whose eyes are sun-damaged don’t realize it until the next day, when their eyes don’t recover. 
To protect our students while encouraging their natural and scientific curiosity, the District has ordered ISO-certified eclipse glasses equipped with solar filters for safe viewing of the sun during the eclipse. Every student in grades K-6 will receive a pair of these glasses for the day of the event. In addition, there will be some glasses available for student pick-up in the main office of PRHS. These glasses have certified filters, but, even still, should only be used for momentary observations of the sun during the partial eclipse. Normal sunglasses do not protect your eyes from direct viewing of the sun, and shouldn’t be used.
I want to underscore that eclipse glasses are not normal sunglasses, nor should they be worn under normal light conditions. They are almost impermeable to light, and are completely dark under normal conditions. For this reason, students, particularly our youngest learners, should be supervised while wearing the glasses to prevent accidents, such as tripping or walking into objects. Also note that if you are viewing the eclipse with your child after school, you should inspect the glasses carefully before allowing your child to use them - scratches on the surface of a filter might compromise its safety. 
All that being said, a solar eclipse is a fascinating event, one worth getting excited about, even if it’s only a partial eclipse. The next eclipse in America won’t be until 2044, well after our current kindergarten Owls have graduated college! I hope that this event and the news surrounding it, may help to ignite a passion for understanding the world around us for all our students. Our science teachers will be discussing the event in its lead-up, and I encourage you to do the same. There are resources on the right to help: there are links to some videos and an eclipse diary to help you and your child understand and record the experience. There’s even a link to a NASA livestream in case it’s cloudy that day!