The 2017 Solar Eclipse overlaps the beginning of the school year in Wyoming. The majority of districts will start classes just after — on the 22 or 23 of August — and two districts in the path of totality made sure students had the day off. Fremont #6 starts on the 17, but students will have the 21 off. The school board in Fremont #24 voted to move the first day of school back to August 23, out of concern for the influx of visitors to the area.
There are, however, a handful of districts that will be in session on the day of the eclipse, like Sweetwater #1 in Rock Springs. Sharon Seaton is the chair of the district’s science department, and she said being in school for the eclipse presents a unique learning opportunity to study the sun and its parts. Seaton and her colleagues started working on lessons and gathering resources last April in preparation for the big day.
“Most of the lessons for K-6 involve; What is the sun? What does it do? How do we get our energy from the sun?,” said Seaton. “And for 7-12 grades we put together some math lessons. How long does it take the sun’s radiation to get to the earth? What are some past history events? What are some legends that are past ancestors?” Seaton said it was once believed that, “if there was an eclipse it was the end of the world.”
Seaton said the district’s efforts have received local support.
“We found out Western Wyoming Community College is giving our district 3,000 pair of solar eclipse glasses so that every child, and staff member, will be able to have a pair of glasses,” said Seaton. “And the plan is the schedule will be modified so that every teacher will be able to take every student out to observe the eclipse.”
Seaton said the eclipse will be at 95 percent totality in Rock Springs, which will appear as a partial eclipse.