Lee’s Summit R-7 to cancel school on Monday, Aug. 21, due to solar eclipse

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Lee’s Summit R-7 School District officials announced Wednesday that all classes will be canceled on Monday, Aug. 21, due to the solar eclipse.

“The decision is based on two factors — concerns related to long-term vision safety and supervision of groups of students during outdoor viewings as well as the growing number of families and staff members expressing interest in traveling to the nearby path of totality for this momentous event for our area,” the district said in a news release.

Cancellation of this school day will result in a change to the 2017-18 calendar with the last day of school moving from May 17 to May 18.

A message to parents with additional explanation is included below.

After listening to concerns related to school being in session on Monday, August 21 — the day of the solar eclipse, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is announcing a change in plans for next Monday’s solar eclipse. All Lee’s Summit R-7 schools will be cancelled on Monday, August 21. This will result in a change in our school calendar with the last day moving from May 17 to May 18.

We understand that this may be inconvenient for our families but are making this decision based on several factors.

  • After considering the wealth of information recently becoming available related to vision safety and long-term eye health, parents, staff members and medical professionals have raised concerns about supervision of children during school-time outdoor viewing of this natural phenomenon. We have further considered the glasses purchased by the district earlier this summer and find it will be difficult for teachers to ensure that they are being used correctly at all times by all students during the viewing.
  • Staff members and families had expressed interest in being able to travel to the nearby solar eclipse path of totality, especially considering that this total eclipse is considered once-in-a-lifetime for most North American residents.
  • By cancelling school, families will be able to make the decision on eclipse viewing in the path of totality with no loss of instruction.
  • Teachers will have the opportunity to provide meaningful lessons related to the August 21 eclipse both before and after the event.
  • The district will be making eclipse shades available to all students and staff members on Friday, August 18. Although these shades meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards, parents are encouraged to thoroughly read and observe the safety instructions from the NASA website listed at the end of this message.

Parents with children in the Before- and After-School Services program will be receiving communication this evening from BASS. Individual schools will be communicating with their students about athletic practices and events although all athletic activities will not begin before 3 p.m. Monday.

We  appreciate your understanding and your support of our schools.