District eclipse directives

An important message from Dr. Michael Cowan, superintendent

The safety and welfare of Mesa Public Schools students and staff are a top priority for all of us. To ensure appropriate precautions are taken during the eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, all staff must adhere to the following directives.

Schools

At the start of school on the day of the eclipse, in every MPS classroom, preschool to 12th grade, students should be reminded of the hazards associated with looking directly at the eclipse. Proper supervision is required for any students outside between 9 a.m. and noon, including students who must move between buildings or are dismissed during that time.

From 9 a.m. to noon, preschool to third-grade students will be on rainy day schedule. Outdoor activities for fourth- to 12th-grade students should be minimized or cancelled, if possible. If you have outdoor eclipse-related activities planned for fourth- to 12th-grade students, safety precautions must be strictly enforced. Eclipse glasses and pinhole projectors must be used according to safety standards. Parents must be notified prior to any eclipse-viewing activities. Appropriate accommodations must be provided for students wishing to not view the eclipse.

District staff

Employees who must be outside from 9 a.m. to noon on the day of the eclipse for work-related activity must be familiar with the risks associated with viewing the eclipse and take the appropriate precautions. Employees driving vehicles should take extra precaution as other drivers may be distracted. If employees choose to view the eclipse during morning or lunch breaks, it is expected they will adhere to all safety protocols.

Additional information

On Aug. 21, Arizona will experience a partial eclipse of the sun by the moon, beginning at 9:13 a.m., peaking at 10:33 a.m. and concluding at noon.

During an eclipse, no one should look directly at the sun without appropriate safety glasses or other equipment, because exposing the retina to intense visible light can cause damage to the eye's light-sensitive rod and cone cells. This can result in temporary or permanent loss of visual function, depending on the severity of the damage. This risk is particularly significant because the injuries occur with no feeling of pain, and visual effects do not occur immediately.

Sunglasses, binoculars, telescopes and welding gear do not provide adequate protection to observe the eclipse and should not be used. Special eclipse glasses that meet ISO 12312-2 standards are safe. Staff and administration must ensure any solar viewers provided to students meet these standards. The NASA website, nasa.gov, offers instructions to build a pinhole projector, which is an inexpensive and safe way to observe the eclipse.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with you administrator or supervisor.

Administrators, please ensure all staff members have received and reviewed this information.

 

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