Solar eclipse: Here’s the inside scoop on school plans

We’re all aware of Monday’s “Great American Eclipse” and how thousands of people are expected to flock to Idaho towns. And most of us have been a part of the social media hype and the Amazon fake glasses scandal.

But let’s talk about what school districts are doing.

Most Idaho schools will be dark — literally — and not just when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth.

Blackfoot, Jerome, Garden Valley, Madison, Nampa ,Pocatello-Chubbuck, Preston Snake River and West Ada school districts have opted to start the new school year at least a day later to allow kids and their families to witness the total solar eclipse on Monday.


The Weiser School District is taking the opportunity to make extra cash for athletic teams and student clubs. Weiser High School is renting out its nine-acre field and turning it into a campground. So far, 184 camping spots have sold at $100 for three nights with 116 spots still available. Campers are coming from across the nation and around the world, including Germany, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Spain.

“When teachers go back to work on Tuesday, we will all have a story to tell,” said Dave Davies, the principal at Weiser High School Principal. “This is a neat thing that is happening in our community.”

Weiser’s first day of school is Aug. 28.

The Garden Valley School District is selling 1,000 parking spots at $20 per car to raise money for school clubs and the gifted-and-talented program. Astronomer Joe Llama from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., will witness the event with students and teachers.

Science lessons

Caldwell School District students started classes this week and will be at school during the eclipse. Teachers plan to pass out eyewear Monday morning and pack the day with eclipse curriculum and viewing parties.

The Twin Falls School District also started this week and have 11,000 protective glasses for kids and teachers.

“We made the decision to be in school so students have the chance to learn while the event is taking place,” said Eva Craner, a Twin Falls district spokeswoman.

The Blaine County School District is distributing 5,000 glasses to students and will focus on safety and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).  Ernest Hemingway STEAM School will hold a kickoff event for all Hemingway families from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday. Hemingway staff will provide hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, math and language arts activities for children.  

“The eclipse is a perfect opportunity to bring our Hemingway families together to celebrate the opening of our new school,” said Tish Short, the principal at STEAM Ernest Hemingway.

School starts Aug. 28 in Blaine County.

Buhl School District starts this week, but canceled classes on Monday. The district passed out 1,400 eyewear to students.

North Idaho school districts start school on Sept. 5.

If you don’t have appropriate eyewear, the State Department of Education science coordinator Scott Smith has a solution for you.

“One of the safest ways to watch the eclipse is to create a pinhole viewer out of a cardboard box,” Smith said.

Send us your photos and win swag

Share with us your view of the eclipse on Monday. Send us photos that show not only the eclipse, but also where you’re viewing it from and who’s watching with you. Have fun with it!

We’ll share out the best photos from eclipse celebrations and viewing parties from across Idaho. To submit your photos, just post them on the EdNews Facebook page and you’ll be eligible to win EdNews swag.

Free solar eclipse glasses


Andrew Reed

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