Monday, August 14, 2017
Dear Families of KCS Students,
As I’m sure you may be aware, on Monday, August 21, 2017 the moon will pass between the earth and the sun for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse since 1918. Millions of Americans in 12 states will be able to watch this solar spectacle that will turn day into night for a couple of minutes. Tennessee is among the 12 states that have been declared to be a best place to experience this rare phenomenon. In Kingsport, the peak of the eclipse affect will take place at 2:36 p.m.
Kingsport City Schools will be in session on August 21st and plans are underway for our students to participate in this exciting and historic event. With the support of the KCS Curriculum and Instruction team, schools have been provided resources that support activities aligned to our STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) vision and maximize the opportunity for learning. Students viewing the eclipse will utilize approved glasses provided by KCS. Partnering with Eastman, the district has purchased viewing glasses for students made by Lunt Solar Systems, a manufacturer verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standards and found on the approved Solar Filter Brands list of the American Astronomical Society. Additionally, students will receive instructions on methods of safe viewing of an eclipse complete with warnings regarding attempts to watch this event without protecting one’s eyes.
Kingsport City Schools will exercise care and careful supervision for all students who participate in this event. However, to be sure that parents are well-informed regarding the activities, parents/guardians of students in grades K-8 are asked to sign and return the Release for Participation in Solar Eclipse Viewing. The release contains two provisions: (1) a general release for student participation; and (2) a release of liability covering the City of Kingsport and its school system. Parents/guardians of students in grades 9-12 should return the Solar Eclipse Viewing Opt-Out form should they elect to opt their child out of viewing the eclipse.
Additional details regarding the KCS plan for the eclipse can be found in the included FAQ. Please review this document for information related to dismissal plans, eyewear, and safety. Please note that to support increased student safety, secondary students will dismiss 15 minutes later than usual on the day of the eclipse.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school for information.
Dr. Dwain Arnold
Interim Superintendent of Schools
When will the solar eclipse take place?
A solar eclipse visible across North America will take place on August 21, 2017. Locally, the eclipse will peak at 2:36 p.m. Kingsport is expecting to see an approximate 96% eclipse.
Will Kingsport City Schools be in session on eclipse day?
Yes, August 21, 2017 will be a full school day for KCS. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to safely experience a natural phenomenon with great educational opportunities.
How can I ensure that my child may participate in the eclipse viewing at school?
K-8 (opt-in): A release form will be provided for parents of children in grades K-8 to grant permission for their child to participate in the eclipse viewing at school. This form should be signed and returned to school by Friday, August 18, 2017 to ensure your child’s participation. K-8 students will not view the eclipse unless a signed permission form is turned in.
9-12 (opt-out): Parents/Guardians of students in grades 9-12 have the option to opt-out of viewing the eclipse by returning the solar eclipse opt-out form to their child’s school. 9-12 students will view the eclipse with KCS provided eye wear unless an opt-out form is turned in.
Will KCS dismiss at the regular time on eclipse day?
To provide a higher level of student safety during dismissal on eclipse day, all secondary students (middle and high school) will dismiss 15 minutes later than usual on August 21, 2017 to allow for the peak of the eclipse to pass before releasing students (Middle and High Schools – 3:00 p.m.). Elementary students will dismiss at the regular time (3:15 p.m.). *See item below regarding bus transportation.
Why is KCS delaying the dismissal of secondary students by 15 minutes on eclipse day?
With the peak of the eclipse occurring at 2:36 p.m., delaying the dismissal of secondary students by 15 minutes will allow for the completion of eclipse activities and for improved conditions for both bus transportation and student drivers.
How will the delayed dismissal for secondary students affect bus transportation?
The delayed release of middle and high school students will cause all students (K-12) riding buses to arrive home approximately 15 minutes later than normal that afternoon.
What type of eyewear will be provided to my child to view the eclipse?
KCS has purchased and will provide eclipse glasses to all K-12 students from Lunt Solar Systems, a manufacturer found on the list of approved solar filter brands by the American Astronomical Society. Lunt Solar Systems viewers have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.