Gwinnett schools will delay dismissal by 1 hour during solar eclipse

Rich Addicks/AJC

Rich Addicks/AJC

Gwinnett County students will be at school an hour longer on Aug. 21 thanks to a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse.

The school district will delay dismissals by an hour that Monday to “allow for better supervision of students during the eclipse,” said Sloan Roach, a district spokeswoman. The decision is a “safety precaution,” said Jonathan Patterson, associate superintendent for curriculum and instructional support.

High school students are typically released shortly after 2 p.m. and the “first tier” of elementary school students are released at 2:45 p.m. The eclipse is expected to occur over Georgia between 2:35 and 2:40 p.m. NASA has advised the public to avoid traveling while the eclipse is occurring.

The dismissal delay will also allow schools to plan “safe and engaging viewing experiences” that will weave in educational aspects, Patterson said.

Solar eclipses are very powerful and can damage a person's eyes if special solar filters are not used. The delayed dismissal will help prevent students on school buses from inadvertently hurting their eyes during the eclipse, a district release said.

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In other school news:

The first day of class for metro Atlanta schools really has gotten earlier. Cobb County students go back to school July 31. Atlanta's first day is Aug. 1. DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett start Aug. 7.