BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Officials with Glynn County Schools told First Coast News students who miss school to travel to see the solar eclipse will not receive an unexcused absence if they turn in a report about their experience.
“A written or presentation report on what they learned from that activity so that that won’t be an unexcused absence,” said Jim Weidhaas, public relations director with Glynn County Schools.
The move comes following a parent-led petition asking the school district to excuse absences on Monday, Aug. 21.
“In this day and age, how many times are we all experiencing the same thing at the same time and it’s a good thing, it’s a positive thing,” said Christina Redden, a mother of two who started the petition.
Redden remembered watching a solar eclipse in the 1970’s and wants to share that experience with her kids.
“I remember being the little kid with the pinbox and my whole little Pre-K is looking at the eclipse,” Redden said. “That hasn’t happened since then.”
The direct path of the eclipse goes north of Brunswick.
“You’ll see a nice eclipse, but you’re not gonna see the once in a lifetime total eclipse,” Redden said. “You have to miss school if you wanna see the event.”
Redden said hundreds of parents have reached out to thank her since she started the petition.
Weidhaas said the district learned about the petition a few weeks ago. Since then, they’ve been working to figure out a compromise.
“For a lot of people it is once in a lifetime,” he said. “The fact that it’s so close to us here in the Southeast and you have an opportunity to go to that 100 percent eclipse zone is pretty neat.”
Weidhaas said a memo was sent out to principals regarding the eclipse absence protocol. He said as long as students turn in the report following their absence, the day will be considered a school-sponsored activity day.
“We want people to use it as a learning opportunity,” he said. “It’s exciting, it really is.”
Weidhaas said more information regarding eclipse day absences will soon be posted on the district’s website.
Additionally, all Glynn County Schools will let out 45 minutes later than usual on August 21. Weidhaas said that’s a safety protocol since the darkest part of the eclipse is expected around elementary school dismissal.
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