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Allentown School District to dismiss students early for solar eclipse

Solar eclipse
Marcos Brindicci
AP Photo
Small towns and rural enclaves along the path of April’s 2024 total solar eclipse are steeling for huge crowds of sun chasers who plan to catch a glimpse of day turning into dusk in North America.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Allentown School District students will get a chance to view Monday's solar eclipse.

The district announced in an email to families Wednesday that “out of an abundance of caution” it would dismiss all students early:

  • Middle schools and high schools will dismiss at 11:30 a.m.
  • Elementary schools will dismiss at 12:30 p.m.
  • There will be no P.M. LCTI and early college students will return with A.M. LCTI students.

The email described the celestial event as an educational opportunity for students.
“This presents a unique opportunity for learning and exploration, but it is crucial to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community members during this time,” the email said.

Teachers will have access to safety guidance provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to share with students ahead of the eclipse. While the Lehigh Valley is expected to see upwards of 92% coverage, eclipse glasses are still recommended for safe viewing.

The email also said schools will incorporate lessons about solar eclipses leading up to the event and that it encourages families to engage in “eclipse-related activities together.”

Allentown School District communications manager Melissa Reese said Dieruff High School will also offer a private event for students alongside the Da Vinci Science Center inside of its new learning dome.

“We are committed to ensuring that our students have the opportunity to safely observe and learn from this rare celestial phenomenon,” the release said. “Thank you for your cooperation and support in prioritizing the safety and educational well-being of our learning community.”

The announcement has received mixed reactions from the community.

“Local schools are closing early on Monday, this is pathetic,” Warren Landis said in a post after the Allentown School District circulated on an Allentown Facebook group. “They are losing a prime opportunity to teach science.”

“I'm surprised people are complaining about this,” Slifkin Douglas replied in a post. “It's a nice little treat for the kids and teachers.”

Some comments suggest other school districts are also dismissing students early for the solar eclipse.

LehighValleyNews.com will update this story as that information becomes available.