The sun will be hidden behind the moon in late August, a fact that is causing Rock Hill schools to make adjustments.
The school district has approved its 2017-18 calendar. Classes will start Aug. 17 rather than the usual third Monday in August -- as required by state law.
On Aug. 21, we will experience the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1979. So the state legislature has passed a joint resolution to allow public schools to start as early as Aug. 17. The change is applicable for just the 2017-18 school year, according to the S.C. Legislature.
Gov. Henry McMaster signed the resolution into law, according to the Rock Hill school district.
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The resolution states that the eclipse is a learning opportunity for students. The House bill includes an amendment requiring schools to provide education on the eclipse if they choose to start on Aug. 17.
Rock Hill’s calendar allows high school students to complete exams before the winter break, said Mychal Frost, district spokesperson. The calendar was developed by a committee of parents, teachers and administrators from 11 schools and Superintendent Advisory Committee students, Frost said. The final version also reflects community feedback.
The first semester ends on Dec. 21. The other districts in the county are in the process of approving their calendars but, as of now, Rock Hill shares the same spring break as Clover, Fort Mill and York - April 2-6, 2018, according to the Rock Hill school district. May 31 is the last day of school for students.
“The calendar looks fantastic,” said board member Helena Miller during the Feb. 13 work session.
During that session, Superintendent Kelly Pew said Rock Hill, along with the other York County districts, plan to hold classes on Aug. 21. She said schools would need to provide special glasses for students along with instructions on safe practices during the eclipse.
York County is not in a path of total darkness, but of a 99 percent partial eclipse, Frost said.
The Fort Mill School board is considering the 2017-2018 school calendar and will vote on it in two weeks. The Fort Mill calendar still starts on Aug. 17.
“We’re educators here and solar eclipses don’t happen too often,” said Kelly McKinney, district spokesperson “Every district is trying to figure out what to do.”
On March 14, the York school board will consider for second reading a calendar reflecting the Aug. 17 start date, said Tim Cooper, public information officer for the York school district. If approved, exams would end before winter break and spring break would align with the other York County districts.
Clover students also will start school on Aug. 17, if the calendar is approved at the March 20 board meeting, said Byran Dillon, public information officer for the Clover school district. The first semester would end Dec. 22 for students and spring break is aligned with the other districts. The last day for students would be June 1.
The Chester County School District is planning an extended day Aug. 21 for students, with school starting on Aug. 17, said Rebecca Crouch, administrative assistant for the district. Chester has approved the 2017-18 school calendar.
“It’s too much of a teachable moment not to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime science lesson,” Crouch said.
- Aug. 21 marks the first total solar eclipse the United States has seen since 1979.
- The eclipse will sweep from Oregon to South Carolina in 94 minutes.
- York County will not be in the path of total darkness, but in a path of 99 percent partial eclipse lasting 2 hours, 52 minutes and 26 seconds.
- 20 S.C. school districts, including Rock Hill, committed to attending school on Aug. 21 as of Feb. 13, said Superintendent Kelly Pew.
- The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be April 8, 2024, and will move from Texas to New York.
Information compiled from the Great American Eclipse website.