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Brant County school boards change PA days due to solar eclipse

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Two schools boards in Brant County have decided to move a scheduled PA day in light of a rare cosmic phenomenon.

Some parts of southern Ontario will witness a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse on April 8.

Although the eclipse will be visible across Canada, the United States, and Mexico, only some areas will be in what’s known as the path of totality – areas where the sun will be completely blocked out by the moon.

Brantford and parts of Brant County, including Burford, Harley and Langford, will be in the path of totality.

Staring directly at the eclipse, even while in the path of totality, without proper eye protection can cause serious eye damage, such as retinal burns.

On Tuesday, the Grand Erie District School Board and Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board both announced plans to move a PA Day originally scheduled for April 19 to April 8 as the eclipse is set to coincide with student dismissal times.

In a release, the Grand Erie District School Board says: “The potential of students looking at the eclipse without proper eye protection poses a safety risk. Looking directly at a total solar eclipse can be dangerous because of the intense and potentially eye-damaging sunlight that is still present even when the moon is blocking part of or all of the sun. We are moving the PA Day to April 8 out of an abundance of caution for student safety and well-being.”

The school board also says McMaster University has donated solar eclipse glasses that will be given to all staff and students.

The Catholic board issued a similar statement regarding safety concerns, noting they understand the change might cause some inconvenience, but “this decision is in the best interest of the safety of our community.”

The Waterloo Region Catholic District School Board, Upper Grand District School Board, and the Wellington Catholic District School Board have all made similar announcements recently.

The Waterloo Region District School board said it’s continuing to monitor the situation and has not made a final decision yet.

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