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How Mayfield Schools Experienced the Solar Eclipse

Global News

Jimmy Turcoliveri, Staff Writer

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The recent eclipse on August 20, 2017 stretched from the rocky land of Oregon to the sandy beaches of South Carolina.

What is a solar eclipse? According to eclipse2017.com, a  solar eclipse is when the moon orbits through the path of sunlight and blocks the sun for roughly three minutes.  While some parts of the US were in the path of totality (where the moon completely covers the sun), in Cleveland, there was an 80% coverage. The last time an eclipse stretched coast to coast was 99 years ago. Therefore, this eclipse was a rare moment; all of the USA got together to watch something memorable.

But eclipses pose a risk, too. As the website businessinsider.com explains, if you aren’t wearing protective glasses, ultraviolet light from the sun can penetrate and be absorbed into your retina causing a condition that eye doctors call retinopathy. Therefore, schools across the US tried to get the point across that looking at the eclipse has many harms to one’s eyes.

Since the day of the eclipse was a school day, everyone was talking about the eclipse, but at MMS, many were also talking about not being able to experience it.  After school activities were canceled (or postponed) and PE classes did not go outside during the occurrence of the eclipse. The concern was safety, as the temptation to stare at the sun would have been great. Principal Mr. Destino explained,  “We made two announcements throughout the day and a district email went out.”  Some did not understand the decision to cancel after-school activities; Mr. Destino explained, “We were concerned that our student athletes did not have the protective eyewear.”

According to teacher Mrs. Saunders, who went outside to sneak a peek on her off period, students would not have been able to enjoy it anyway without the eyewear.  She said, “The eclipse wasn’t visible unless you had eclipse glasses; the glare made it impossible to see the moon’s shadow. It just looked like a regular sun until you put the glasses on.”

Many wondered how the elementary schools would deal with the eclipse. Mr.Bradic, principal of Millridge Elementary said,  “At Millridge, our third and fifth graders had indoor recess that day to prevent the amount of time they were exposed to the eclipse and to reduce their temptation to look directly at the sun.” He also added, “thanks to the generosity of our Parent Teacher Group, every student and staff member received a pair of approved glasses through a company that works directly with NASA.” Students were reminded before dismissal to only view the eclipse with the glasses.

Lander also received glasses through their parent organization.  Students learned about eclipse safety in science classes prior to the event, and parent volunteers took small groups outside to view the occurrence.  Principal Felicia Evans said, “It will go down in memory as one of my favorite events.”

Gates Mills Elementary also led up to the event with lessons on the differences between lunar and solar eclipses. While viewing the eclipse using the live link, students journaled about their reactions and feelings as a keepsake of the memory. Principal Tammi Bender explained that students were able to take their glasses home to share the experience with their families.

For those who missed the eclipse, luckily, Cleveland will be in the path of totality in April, 2024. In regards to the 2024 eclipse, Mayfield Middle school principal stated, “With more time to plan we would 100% buy protective eyewear for our students.”

The experience in the path of totality will be even more remarkable according to eighth-grader Victor Popoviciu, who was in Nashville, Tennessee.  There, it turned to night–the streetlights coming on and crickets chirping. He said it was a memorable experience.

So, Cleveland and the students of Mayfield are in for a treat in 2024.

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How Mayfield Schools Experienced the Solar Eclipse