The Eclipse’s totality, when the sun is completely blocked by the moon and only the solar corona is visible, should be able to be seen in southern Washington County at around 1:20 p.m., Monday, August 21. (Photo from Nasa.gov, Image S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol)
By Alex Haglund
The Nashville News has received updates regarding local plans for the eclipse occurring at midday on Monday, August 21.
At District 49 Nashville Grade School, the plans to bus students south to view the eclipse in person have been nixed over concerns for student eye safety.
Now, the entire student body will be watching the eclipse on a livestream from indoors. Principal Chuck Fairbanks stated that the school was told that this was the only way to guarantee the students would be 100-percent safe.
District 49 Superintedent Michael Brink issued a statement on Wednesday, August 16, which said that students whose parents wished to withdraw them from school that day in order to view the eclipse with them could do so, and that it would be considered an excused absence.
At Nashville Community High School, Superintendent Ernie Fowler said that the student body would be watching the eclipse from the front lawn of the school for a 45 minute long “Eclipse Lunch.”
The school will be furnishing students with eye-safe glasses and bag lunches for the event.
In Case Of Emergency
The Clinton/Washington County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met on Wednesday in Breese, where Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Region 8 Coordinator Stan Krushas talked about state plans for the eclipse.
Krushas will be the incident commander at the northern Emergency Operations Center (EOC), in Fairview Heights. The southern EOC will be in Marion, and there will be an EOC in Springfield as well. The state of Illinois’ Unified Command will be located in Effingham.
Due to the nature of all the visitors to the area from out of Illinois and from the northern parts of the state, IEMA is concerned not only with the eclipse itself, but with the time leading up to and following the celestial event.
The EOCs will be open beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, through about 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Saturday, Sunday and Monday though, “Everyone will be putting in at least 10-to-14-hour days,” Krushas said.
“We hope our citizens and our guests come into our state, spend money, take plenty of pictures, and return home safely on our roadways,” Krushas said, adding that while he hoped that was all, in the event of any emergency, “we are fully prepared to respond.”
One wildcard for Monday’s event is the same wildcard as always for Illinois – the weather.
“We don’t know,” Krushas said. “The weather is the weather.”
While cloud cover obstructing the view might not seem like and “emergency”, Krushas and others at IEMA are more specifically worried about eclipse-gazers being disappointed and then trying to take to the roadways to chase down a better vantage point. With more traffic than normal and less eyes on the road than might be safe, moving searches for a good view might be a recipe for disaster.
Safe Viewing, More Eclipse Information & Links
For more information on eclipse viewing eye safety, please head to NASA’s site here.
The Nashville News just published a letter to school administrators from Optometrist Josh Wilson, which can be found here.
For an interactive Google map showing the path of the eclipse, as well as viewing times for given locations, head here.
For NASA’s Eclipse 2017 page (which is full of resources on the event), head here.
For The Nashville News‘ article on the Eclipse from the August 2, 2017 edition of the paper, head here.