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P.E.I. schools to close early on day of total solar eclipse next month

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office recommends wearing specialized glasses to view the solar eclipse. (Mic Smith/Associated Press - image credit)
P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office recommends wearing specialized glasses to view the solar eclipse. (Mic Smith/Associated Press - image credit)

Students on P.E.I. will be dismissed from class two hours early out of an "abundance of caution" on Monday, April 8, the day the province and the rest of Canada will experience a full solar eclipse, says the Department of Education and Early Years.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, darkening the sky and making it seem like nighttime.

P.E.I. will experience the effects of the eclipse at various times between 3:26 p.m. and 5:44 p.m. depending on the region, which coincides with the time students would be walking or being transported home from school.

"Doing a system wide early dismissal ensures our bus drivers will be off the road before the eclipse begins, and students will be home safely," Education and Early Years Minister Natalie Jameson said in a news release issued Tuesday.

The moon passes in front of the sun for a total solar eclipse visible from Farmington, Mo., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
The moon passes in front of the sun for a total solar eclipse visible from Farmington, Mo., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, darkening the sky as it would appear at night. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via The Associated Press)

Island teachers will educate students about the eclipse, the dynamics of our solar system and essential safety practices to follow on April 8, school officials said.

"It will be exciting for students to return to classes the following day to discuss their unique perspectives and ways they safely experienced the eclipse," said Tracy Beaulieu, director of the Public Schools Branch, in the release.

P.E.I.'s French-language school system will also send students home two hours earlier than normal on April 8.

Safety tips

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office offered the following safety tips for viewing the solar eclipse:

  • Wear special glasses with solar filters designed for eclipse watching (ISO 12312-2 International Standard).

  • Do not look directly at the sun without specialized eye wear.

  • Do not look at the sun through sunglasses, a camera lens, binoculars, etc., unless they are equipped with a solar filter.

  • Supervision of children and others needing assistance is important to ensure they follow safe practices when viewing the solar eclipse.