Sackets Harbor, Malone school districts closing for April eclipse

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Students in two north country school districts will not have to go to school when the once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse happens on April 8.

The Sackets Harbor Central and Malone Central school districts have decided to close school on the day of the eclipse.

In a message to the community on Wednesday morning, Sackets Harbor Superintendent Jennifer L. Gaffney informed parents that school will be closed that day for students to enjoy the eclipse.

The change from an early dismissal to being closed that day was made after monitoring reports that an influx of people may be in Sackets Harbor viewing the eclipse, causing a surge in traffic in and around the village.

“This surge in activity raises valid concerns about potential travel disruptions. In light of these unprecedented circumstances and the absence of precedence, we have made the decision to prioritize caution,” Gaffney wrote. “Nevertheless, families are still encouraged to gather on the school grounds to view the eclipse…”

The Sackets school district will use that day as a superintendent’s day, so it will not be counted as a snow or weather day.

Faculty and staff must report in the morning that day, however. Faculty will participate in virtual training in the afternoon.

The district is encouraging students, faculty and staff to attend eclipse events that the village is hosting.

Many area school districts are planning to go with half days, while some districts are still figuring out their plans.

In Watertown, city school district officials are reconsidering an earlier plan for students to attend a half day.

With some recent spring-like weather, city school district students will probably have the day off for the total eclipse. There are two snow days still available, and city school district officials are revisiting closing for the April 8 eclipse, said Tina M. Lane, assistant superintendent for personnel.

“We’ll let parents know a week or two before April 8,” Lane said.

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