District statement on the April 8 solar eclipse

Minisink Valley parents/guardians:

On April 8, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, Canada and the United States, including New York State. This is particularly exciting because the last total solar eclipse in New York was in 1925. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be 2045. The next total solar eclipses in New York will be in 2079 and 2144. This eclipse will be a once-in-a lifetime experience for people living in the lower Hudson Valley area. .

As you may know, a total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk. The eclipse visits New York beginning at 3:16 p.m. with the final exit of the Moon’s shadow from the state at 3:29 p.m. Through New York, the speed of the Moon’s shadow will accelerate from about 2,210 miles per hour to about 2,735 miles per hour. This area of New York State will not be in the direct path of the eclipse, but our area will be able to see approximately 94% of the eclipse. Safety glasses are a necessity for anyone outdoors.    

In the coming weeks — in addition to what our faculty will be talking about with their students — you’ll be hearing and reading more about the eclipse in the news, including how to watch it safely. You may also be seeing news reports about how school districts will be addressing safety issues tied to the eclipse, as the eclipse will be happening during dismissal times and during some outdoor sporting events. Already, there’s been a respectable amount of news reports on this in upstate New York.

We are aware that a handful of our colleague Orange County districts have already announced early dismissal plans. At this time, we are looking at various scenarios that would make the most sense, putting student safety as a priority. We’ll be monitoring the weather forecast once we return from Spring Break, and will know more in the days prior to the eclipse as the forecast’s accuracy becomes more apparent. This will be among the factors used as part of our decision making.  Our plan remains, similar to winter weather issues, to closely monitor several reputable weather forecasting outlets in advance of the eclipse. Safety is always our first concern.  

For now, we ask that you use this exciting event as another opportunity to review your plans for your child in the event of an early dismissal.  You need to be sure your child fully understands these plans as well. If we determine that it’s in the best safety interests of our students to dismiss early, this information would be communicated via our website, Facebook page, app notification and recorded calls to your home.  We will give you as much advance notice as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this important information.