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Whitefield Solar Eclipse Plan for August 21
Categories: General, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
Posted: 8/9/2017

The Atlanta area will be experiencing a 97% total solar eclipse during the afternoon of Monday, August 21. The moon will begin passing over the sun at approximately 1 p.m. and will cover 97% of the sun at approximately 2:36 p.m. The eclipse will end at approximately 4 p.m.

Please see the action plans below for each school division.

Lower School - Early Dismissal

We believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is best for our Lower School students to experience at home with their families. Individualized, parent-supervised viewing at home for our Lower School students is most-appropriate with regards to safety. The sun can be dangerous to your eyes if you do not utilize special viewing glasses. Please keep in mind, these glasses are not sized for younger children, and, therefore, we are stressing careful parent supervision while viewing the eclipse.

Because of the unique aspects of this event, we will dismiss Lower School students early on Monday, August 21, so you can experience the eclipse together as a family and closely monitor your children for outside viewing. We will serve lunch before dismissal.

To allow ample time for you and your children to arrive at home before the eclipse experience begins around 1 p.m., we will release all Lower School students in typical carpool fashion at the following times:
  • PreK4 and kindergarten students, along with their siblings – 12 p.m.
  • First through fourth grades – 12:30 p.m.
No Club Cub or After School Care will be provided this day. Should this early dismissal pose a hardship for your family, please email our assistant principal, Steve Henson.

Lower School science teacher Sally Fikse is hard at work developing grade-appropriate educational materials to provide extensive instruction in the classroom so students understand and appreciate this phenomenon. An “eclipse packet” for each Lower School family will be sent home in Thursday folders on Thursday, August 17, containing handouts as well as solar eclipse safety glasses for you to use as you view the event. These glasses are ISO and CE certified and are the standard for safest direct solar viewing. They are also NASA approved. Please follow the instructions printed on the glasses to ensure full eye safety.

Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to make this experience educationally sound and responsibly safe for our students and our families.

Middle and Upper Schools - Optional Viewing Assembly, Regular Dismissal

Because of the unique educational opportunity this event presents, we will be offering an OPTIONAL 20 to 30 minute outdoor viewing assembly for Middle and Upper School students in WolfPack Stadium during the peak time of the eclipse.

All Middle School students and advisors will gather in the Middle School Chapel Mod at 2 p.m. for an eclipse science lesson from Mrs. Voelkel and Mrs. Fawcett. Mrs. Figaretti will give a devotional, and then all students opting to participate in the outdoor experience will be provided with solar eclipse safety glasses. These glasses are ISO and CE certified and are the standard for safest direct solar viewing. They are also NASA approved.

After Dr. Farrar gives a safety mandate on proper usage of the glasses, students will walk with their advisees to the football field at 2:20 p.m. and will watch the eclipse from an assigned viewing area on the field. Students will be closely monitored by faculty and staff during this assembly.

Upper School students will meet in the Louise Owens Theater at 2:15 p.m. for a safety briefing. Those students who have submitted permission forms will be allowed to pick up eclipse safety glasses and walk to WolfPack Stadium to watch the eclipse.

Even though all safety precautions will be taken to the best of our ability, parent permission will be required for all students wishing to participate in this outdoor assembly. The permission form can be submitted by logging into the Whitefield Parent Portal and going to Important Forms, Middle/Upper School Outdoor Solar Eclipse Viewing Permission Form. Paper permission forms are also available in the Middle and Upper School offices.

For students not participating in the optional outdoor assembly, a livestream of the eclipse will be shown on monitors indoors.

Dismissal on this day will be at our normal time of 3 p.m., and sports activities will be held as regularly scheduled.