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Ensure Safety During a Total Eclipse

Blog Post April 2024 Solar Eclipse

As the celestial event of a total eclipse approaches, schools across the nation are gearing up to witness this rare phenomenon. It’s crucial for educational institutions to be well-prepared and informed about the potential risks and best practices associated with viewing a total eclipse. Here, we outline essential guidelines to ensure the safety and security of students, staff and visitors during this extraordinary event.

Risks Associated with Total Eclipse

1. Transportation Risks

During a total eclipse, transportation challenges may arise due to reduced visibility caused by the moon blocking the sun. School buses, parent vehicles and other motor vehicles may find it difficult to operate safely. If travel is required, turn headlights on for increased visibility.

2. Safety of Students Outside

While the allure of witnessing a total eclipse draws students outdoors, schools must carefully consider the safety implications. Out-of-town travelers and local community members may converge on school grounds, potentially creating security concerns.

3. Eye and Skin Damage

Even brief exposure to the sun during a total eclipse can lead to eye and skin damage. It’s essential to educate students, staff and parents about the risks and precautions.

4. Large Gatherings

Total eclipses occur infrequently, making them a magnet for large crowds. While the excitement is understandable, schools must address safety and security concerns associated with such gatherings.

Best Practices for Eclipse Viewing

1.   Health and Safety Controls

Solar Eclipse Glasses: ISO 12312-2 compliant solar eclipse glasses should be worn by all participants viewing the eclipse. This protective eyewear should be prominently marked as compliant and obtained from a reputable vendor to ensure their effectiveness. These specialized glasses provide safe viewing of the sun during the eclipse. Emphasize that using any other eyewear or looking directly at the sun without protection can cause irreversible eye damage.

Skin Protection: Remind everyone to dress appropriately. Extended exposure to sunlight during the eclipse can harm the skin. Wear long sleeves, hats and sunscreen to minimize skin risks.

2.   Security Controls

Security Planning: District administrators should create a comprehensive security plan. This plan should cover crowd management, traffic flow and emergency response procedures. Ensure that security personnel are well-trained and aware of their roles during the eclipse event.

Collaborate with Local Law Enforcement: For large gatherings, consult with local law enforcement agencies. Discuss security measures, coordinate traffic control and establish communication channels. Their expertise will enhance safety during the event.

3.   Operational Controls

Early or Postponed Dismissal: If the eclipse timing coincides with dismissal, schools should consider adjusting dismissal schedules. If a delayed dismissal will occur, consider the need for providing additional childcare hours until students can be picked up.

Grounds Assessments: Whether activities occur indoors or outdoors, conduct thorough pre-event inspections. Look for inherent hazards such as:

      • Traffic Monitoring: Ensure safe traffic flow around school premises.
      • Sidewalks and Parking Lots: Check for any hazards like cracks, uneven surfaces or debris.
      • Open Field Spaces: Inspect for protruding objects or holes that could pose risks during outdoor activities.

Abundance of Caution: Treat the total eclipse like a significant weather event. Schools should individually assess the need for altering hours or implementing virtual learning days. Discussions with administrators can guide these decisions.

Remember, the total eclipse is a remarkable natural occurrence, but safety should always be the top priority. By following these best practices, schools can create an educational and awe-inspiring experience while safeguarding everyone involved. Let’s make this celestial event a memorable and secure moment for our students!

You can find additional eclipse watching safety at the following sites:


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