McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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MCHS accommodates for solar eclipse on April 8

April 8 will follow an early release schedule in order for students to be able to see the eclipse
Jongsun Lee / Unsplash
The 2024 solar eclipse will take place on April 8th, and the McHenry community has the rare opportunity to experience the event with about 92% totality.

With the Solar eclipse happening on April 8th, MCHS will have an early release so students and teachers can view the eclipse. The Solar Eclipse on the 8th has many people flocking to McHenry and other nearby towns to see it. However, the eclipse happens to be a Monday during normal school hours and students would miss their chance to see this rare occurrence without an early release schedule. 

“We started some initial conversations in the building probably a month and a half, two months ago,” said principal Gregory Eiserman. “I mean it was early February.”  

The school was already thinking and planning for a solar eclipse.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” said Eiserman. “ It’s very rare, maybe the strongest you’re ever going to get in a lifetime.”

Solar eclipses are extremely rare, with a partial eclipse occurring only a few times a year, and a total eclipse once every one to two years. 

“Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes between the sun and earth,” said astrology teacher Derek Poci. “The moon then casts a shadow over parts of the earth. If you are in the direct shadow then it looks like the sun is being blocked out. This is a total solar eclipse. If you are in the penumbra (outer parts) then you have a partial eclipse.”

There are also some dangers that a solar eclipse can cause. 

“The sun emits UV rays that are dangerous whether it is a solar eclipse or not,” said Poci. “These UV rays can cause minor damages such as headaches, eye strain, and dizziness. More serious damages include retina damage, blurry vision or even total blindness.”

In order to view an eclipse you need special protection glasses that are rated to have the ability to view a solar eclipse.

“You guys miss two or three minutes a class and your Aim period,” said Eiserman. “It’s not a big loss in academics… I think from a scientific standpoint it will make a good educational experience… We’re going to provide all the students with glasses to take home.”

The school would rather students go home early and view the eclipse for its rarity, with little to no loss to their learning.

Middle schools and elementary schools have their own activities for the eclipse and will operate with normal school hours.

“If you cannot get proper eye wear then a person should just watch online,” said Poci.

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