MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As Monday's solar eclipse draws closer, Broward County Public Schools have alerted parents and guardians that students who don't attend the first day of school will be excused.
An email and robocall sent to parents and guardians states, "This is an important update regarding the first day of school on Monday, August 21, 2017, and the solar eclipse. While students are encouraged to attend school each day, the District understands some parents may prefer to share the solar eclipse experience with their child at home. The absence will be excused with proper school notification in accordance with the District's attendance policy."
For those students who do attend school on Monday, all outdoor after-school activities are being moved indoors for the safety of the students.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said the district is asking all bus drivers to be extra cautious as other drivers might be distracted on the roads looking at the eclipse.
He said principals will remind students, staff and visitors about the dangers of looking at the sun during the eclipse and the potential for damage to the eye unless they are wearing approved eclipse glasses.
Miami-Dade Public Schools are also moving outdoor after-school activities indoors.
School officials are making these changes so students don't suffer any permanent eye damage trying to look at the eclipse without proper protective eye wear.
The Archdiocese of Miami has previously announced that students at all of its elementary and high schools in Miami-Dade and Broward will be released early, at 11:30 a.m., due to the historic celestial event.
The Archdiocese said with the first day of school usually being pretty hectic, they decided to go with the early release so students can be in a safe environment during the solar eclipse.
During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours.
In South Florida, it won't be a total solar eclipse but a partial eclipse reaching about 80% totality. It's expected to start at 1:26 p.m., peak at 2:58 p.m. and end by 4:20 p.m.
Experts warn folks not to look at the eclipse without proper eyewear. Regular sunglasses will not work.
According to NASA, this is the first total solar eclipse that can be seen in the Continental U.S. since in 1979.
The next total eclipse won't be observable in the United States until 2024 and not until August 2045 will Florida be in the next solar eclipse's path of totality.
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