Solar eclipse will block students from classes in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills


Published January 17, 2024 at 11:49 am

total solar eclipse Burlington Halton Oakville Milton school students

A rare solar eclipse will keep students across Halton from attending classes on a day this spring.

Both the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) have decided to close schools on Monday, April 8 for a professional activity (PA) day because of the eclipse which is expected to cast darkness late in the afternoon.

Originally the PA day was scheduled for Monday, April 22.

The switch was made because both boards fear the early darkness caused by the eclipse will interfere with dismissal time.

The eclipse is expected to begin at approximately 2 p.m. and end around 4:30 p.m. and could block all sunlight during that period.

“By rescheduling the PA Day to coincide with the eclipse, we mitigate possible transportation and safety concerns and challenges for families that could arise as a result of the darkness that would be experienced during school dismissal time,” officials from both Boards said in a joint statement. “While we recognize the inconvenience this rescheduling may cause, both HCDSB and HDSB are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students.”

A total solar eclipse is considered a rare celestial event and is expected to be best encountered this time in Canada, the United States and Mexico. It occurs when the moon aligns perfectly between the Earth and the Sun causing temporary darkness by casting a shadow.

Partial solar eclipses, as well as total and partial lunar eclipses, take place regularly in Canada but the total solar eclipse is rare. The last time Canadians had a chance to view was in 1979 and the next one is not expected until 2106.

As Halton children will be off school that day and will have a chance to experience the event, it is important to explain to them that directly looking at the sun, even during an eclipse, without appropriate protection can lead to severe eye damage or loss of eyesight.

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