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Berkeley County to begin school year in the dark

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — This coming Monday, for the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will be visible in totality within a band across the entire contiguous United States.

Berkeley County students will be wearing eclipse classes next Monday.

It’s an opportunity Berkeley County Schools is capitalizing on as they welcome students back for the first day of school.

Assistant Superintendent Margaret Kursey said they have provided principals with a resource guide for that includes information about the science surrounding the eclipse, as well as the historical significance of the event.

“We are encouraging our principals to work with our teachers on building this into a learning lesson,” she said.

The school system purchased 20,000 pairs of eclipse glasses they plan to distribute to students.

“The glasses have been provided as a tool for students, also to commemorate the first day of school and the great American eclipse.”

Some parents in the community have raised concerns about the safety of letting students look at the sun, but Kursey said the glasses were provided by a verified vendor and were not part of the recall from Amazon.

She said the school system is also not going to mandate a formal gathering of students to watch the eclipse.

“The timing of the actual eclipse falls about the time when we are dismissing students on the first day,” according to Kursey.

School officials said that many parents had called with concerns that their children may not have a chance to see the eclipse.

Kursey said the individual teachers and principals will have some discretion about how students are allowed to view the event, and will also have access to the NASA website where the eclipse is to be live streamed.

The eclipse is expected to happen between 1:00 and 3:00 Monday afternoon.
Medical professionals have expressed the dangers involved with looking directly at the sun, especially when it is partially obscured making it appear safe.

Kursey said that is being emphasized to students before they are dismissed home.

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