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DeKalb County Schools will close for ‘independent learning day’ due to solar eclipse

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DeKalb County Schools will close for ‘independent learning day’ due to solar eclipse


This story has been updated. 

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County Schools made a surprise announcement on March 19.

The school district says schools will be closed for an independent learning day on April 8, the Monday following Spring Break. And what will the students be learning about independently? The bright ball of light in the sky called the Sun.

“DCSD has announced an Independent Learning Day for a safe community-wide Great American Eclipse event! From 1:45 PM to 4:21 PM, a partial solar eclipse will grace our Georgia skies,” the district’s announcement on social media says. “Remember, safety first! Make sure to wear eclipse-viewing glasses. For more information and safety tips, check out https://bit.ly/3PuCfjj.”

The news caught many parents off guard. It was on the district’s social media pages but not on the district’s website, and the district hadn’t sent out any news releases about it. On March 20, the district sent an official news release about the upcoming independent learning day.

Georgia will only experience a partial eclipse. According to Greatamericaneclipse.com, the eclipse is mainly visible from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The site provides tracking information and maps about the event.

While some people commenting on the district’s Facebook post about the April 8 closure welcomed the extra day of Spring Break, others thought the closure was dubious, at best, and perhaps an attempt to avoid having children look into the sky during school dismissal time.

“Please tell me why they announced this on social media but didn’t send anything home with kids or send out one of those annoying text reminders like they do for school surveys or an automated call like they do for when my kid is absent,” one commenter said.

One commenter wondered if the district’s social media pages had been “hacked.”

“This is an unthoughtful decision and seems selfish on the part of DeKalb County schools,” another commenter said. “There are no camps open for the ‘Great American Solar Eclipse’ day. This leaves working parents having to find child care on the heels of Spring Break so kids can potentially see a partial solar eclipse, the majority of which occurs after school ends and requires special safety glasses. And we have to do all the classwork at home. Thank you, DeKalb County. Hope you enjoy the eclipse.”

A few commenters embraced the extra day of Spring Break.

“Y’all need to relax,” one commenter said. “They basically just extended Spring Break by an extra day, probably because they already had parents asking to extend it.”

“Just be prepared and enjoy the day with your scholars,” another commenter said. “We could use the extra day with our family as well.”

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