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FAQ Solar Eclipse Viewing on August 21, 2017

posted Aug 14, 2017, 3:05 PM by Beth Allen

Has the school division purchased eclipse glasses to wear during the event?  

Yes, BCPS has purchased paper eclipse glasses that meet ISO & CE guidelines for our students and staff to safely observe the event.  Although there is no way to fully guarantee student safety during such a rare event, we will take precautionary measures including pre-education to make students aware of the risks involved in directly looking at the sun. 

What safety precautions should be taken to view the eclipse?  
At no time should students or participants remove their eclipse glasses and look 
directly at the sun as it could cause permanent eye damage or other unknown effects. There is no way for the school to guarantee that your child will not remove their eclipse glasses, so please speak with your child about the importance of keeping their eclipse glasses on when viewing the eclipse.

Here are safety tips to remember, according to the American Astronomical Society:

  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if it's scratched, punctured, torn or otherwise damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter; do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer; the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens or other optics.
  • If you are inside the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun's bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality and then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.  Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.

Where can I find more information about the eclipse?  

Information regarding the eclipse can be located on the American Astronomical Society website at or the NASA website at

What if I need to pick my child up during the eclipse?  

The office will still be operational.  Procedures for checking out your child will not change.  Office staff will be available to assist you.

What if I don't want my child to participate in this activity?  
If you do not want your child to participate in this activity, please notify your child's school in writing by Friday, August 18, 2017.  You may sign the waiver OR send written notification.  Students who do not view the live event will view the event via the NASA website inside the building.