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Crossing guards concerned about solar eclipse


Some Waterloo Region school crossing guards are raising concerns that April 8’s solar eclipse is expected to reach its peak right when students will be walking home from school.

The Waterloo Region District School Board will be one of very few local boards with students in class Monday. Many others have moved PA days to coincide with the eclipse.

Kids will be let out around the peak time of the solar eclipse. While Waterloo Region will not get dark like areas in the eclipse’s path of totality, the sky is expected to dim

"It's a great learning experience, but I think the schools should be let out 15 minutes early or hang on an extra 15 minutes," City of Kitchener school crossing guard Kathleen Nightingale said Tuesday.

Nightingale said guards in Kitchener have been instructed to try and hold kids back during the peak time of darkness.

"Try and hold the kids back and let the cycle of [traffic] lights go through. But as you can see, this is a corner that doesn't have lights," Nightingale said.

Nightingale said she’s seen several close calls with cars not stopping during the day, so with potential darkness comes a greater concern.

"It becomes challenging because a lot of cars still don't have automatic headlights,” Nightingale said.

Nightingale wants the schools to adjust their release times either earlier or later to avoid having to cross students during the eclipse.

“If the school turns around and says, 'Okay, we'll let you go home 15 minutes early.' I don't know, a crossing guard that would say, 'No, I can't do that,'" Nightingale said.

Nightingale said stop signs with flashing lights would be a way to help, but no extra equipment has been provided.

"We can do the best we can, but we're not their parents. We can't direct them and say that you can't do this and you can't do that and don't look at the sun. We'd like to, but that's not our job," Nightingale said.

Crossing guards are managed by their local cities.

The City of Waterloo was not available to comment.

According to the City of Cambridge, it has not given any special instructions to its crossing guards. The city said the procedure for keeping children on the sidewalk until its safe to cross will not change for the eclipse.

In an email, a spokesperson for the City of Kitchener said: “The City of Kitchener provided guidance to crossing guards to help ensure the safety of children during the solar eclipse. This included information on how to stay safe as well as a response to concerns about crossing roadways during the peak of the eclipse.”

Nightingale said the guards’ main concern is keeping students safe. Top Stories

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