CW Schools to close for total eclipse; also Facility Master Plan news

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer
School calamity days often involved inclement weather, but Canal Winchester Schools are closing their doors on April 8 due to a rare total eclipse over Ohio.

“After much discussion, it would be in our best interest to close school for the day,” Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent Kiya Hunt told board of education members at their Feb. 12 meeting. “We made this decision for a few reasons, but first and foremost is the safety of our students. Our youngest students may be on the bus during the eclipse and we have no way to ensure they’re not looking up at the sun.”

Hamilton Local Schools will also close on April 8 for students, but that district is holding a staff development day.

According to the American Astronomical Society, looking directly at the sun without wearing the right eye protection is unsafe and can permanently damage the retina and even cause blindness.

The only safe way to look directly at the sun during an eclipse is through special-purpose solar filters, like those used in eclipse glasses marked with the ISO 12312-2 standard.

Solar eclipse totality will follow a 124-mile-wide band primarily across the northern half of Ohio. While the southern limit of totality in central Ohio is the northwest corner of Franklin County, a near total eclipse will be visible south starting 3:10 p.m. and lasting approximately three to four minutes.

Columbus Metropolitan Library will distribute free eclipse glasses beginning March 18 at all 23 CML locations while supplies last and limited to four per family. Call ahead, 614-645-2275 to check availability.

Throughout March and into early April, CML will also offer special eclipse-themed programs. This is the first time since 1806 Ohio has been in the path of a total solar eclipse.

Hunt said another reason for the off day is, “It also allows our family and staff the opportunity to participate in seeing the rare, full eclipse, a pretty amazing event. The other thing is traffic reports. We have heard traffic will be extra busy with many traveling all over to view the eclipse. Even though we’re not in the area of totality, during that time traffic will be heavy, which could cause our buses to be layer than expected with students on the bus.”

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, after the total solar eclipse on April 8, the next total solar eclipse that can be seen from the contiguous United States will be on Aug. 23, 2044.

NASA also reported, “We can’t normally see the corona ­– the sun’s outer atmosphere – because the sun’s surface below it is so much brighter. But during a total solar eclipse, the corona becomes visible, offering unique opportunities to study it. When a solar eclipse reaches totality, nocturnal wildlife sometimes wakes up, thinking that it’s nighttime, and non-nocturnal wildlife might think it’s time to head to sleep.”

CW Facility Master Plan
By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer
Canal Winchester Local Schools look to the future with the development of a Facility Master Plan and district officials are seeking input from the community.

“Once developed, the plan will serve as a road map guiding the district on optimizing existing facilities and making informed decisions on new facilities or renovations,” said Superintendent Kiya Hunt. “The Canal Winchester Facility Master Plan will take into account community input and recognize the diverse perspective of staff, students, parents and other stakeholders.”

By engaging in a collaborative process with stakeholders, Hunt said the district will ensure the plan not only meets practical requirements, but also aligns with community values and aspirations.

“This inclusive approach fosters a sense of ownership and pride among our students, staff, parents and community members in creating a shared vision for the future of Canal Winchester Schools,” said Hunt. “In the coming months we will actively involve the community, providing different ways to share their thoughts and opinions.”

To kick start the process, Hunt said the district is sending out a request for qualifications for facilities master planning and design services in hopes of beginning work by mid to late March.

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