Metro Schools votes to cancel classes for total solar eclipse

(MGN Online)

Metro Schools reversed its decision Tuesday night with plans to close schools on August 21 for the total solar eclipse.

According to MNPS, the district was met with challenges in transportation, staffing and attendance. The board voted unanimously to cancel school after at least 400 teachers and 100 bus drivers were expected to be out that day.

The partial eclipse will start just before noon before the moon completely blocks out the sun around 1:27 p.m. on Aug. 21. Nashville will be among the areas with a front-row-seat to the eclipse. The moon will cast a shadow smaller than the Earth, meaning only those areas in the shadow will see the eclipse.

Parents were relieved to hear about Tuesday's vote.

"I agree with them, with cancelling school," Chastity Bware said. "This is a huge historic moment for Nashville. We're in the largest path to see the total solar eclipse, and I think it's fantastic that the kids will be able to enjoy this with family and friends."

Previously MNPS voted to change the calendar to keep students in school on the day of the total solar eclipse at the request of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. Students who already made plans for the total solar eclipse would not have been docked for an absence.

Last month, a spokesperson for MNPS said the mayor urged them to reconsider that decision to cancel classes as she felt strongly that young students could encounter safety issues if they were left home without supervision on that day.

Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Director, said he thinks the board was thinking about safety when they voted Tuesday.

"We had a lot of parents who were excited that we would be in school," Joseph said. "We had a lot of parents that were excited that they were going to take the day off, and ultimately it came down to the issue of safety."

MNPS gave the following statement about Tuesday's vote to again cancel classes:

Our main priority is and always will be student safety. While we have been planning for students to attend school on Aug. 21 to participate in eclipse-based lesson plans, it has become apparent that there are many challenges related to transportation, staffing and attendance – all of which could impact student safety.

As such, the Board of Education voted tonight, Aug. 8, that students and 10-month employees will not report to school on Monday, Aug. 21. Revised calendar details for teachers and students will be released by the district in the coming weeks.

Metro Nashville Public Schools will continue to provide eclipse viewing glasses, safe viewing instructions, and supplemental educational resources for our 88,000 students in the days leading up to the eclipse.

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