“We will be in school that day, but it will be a learning experience. It will be a day planned around that, because there’s so much you can do with the eclipse looking at literature, math and science. We’ve already ordered 19,000 pieces of special glasses,” said Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright.
NASA ambassador Theo Wellington addressed the solar eclipse with the Wilson County Commission earlier this year and said in August, the state will see its first total solar eclipse since 1869.
“If they’re home with families, that should be a wonderful thing, and I hope the schools will please bless all the absences. But if they don’t have a place to be, at school is going to be the best place for them to be where they can have a guided, safe experience,” said Wellington, who told the story of a teenager in India who rejected instructions and chose to stare at the eclipse.
“The doctor told him he had a cute little crescent-shaped scar on the back of his retina. Your retina does not have any pain receptors. You don’t know when you’re doing it damage. That will be the subject of many safety talks,” she said.
Wellington said half of the U.S. population is within a one day’s drive to the total solar eclipse path, which means areas along the path, such as Wilson County, will experience an influx of visitors.
Wellington said the total eclipse path is important, because it’s the path in which a total eclipse is visible. Other areas will only experience a partial eclipse, which doesn’t bring darkness.
“It’s a nationwide event. Everybody will see part of the sun covered up that day, but only those in the 70-mile wide path get to see the total eclipse,” said Wellington, who said the eclipse causes a night and day difference.
Wellington said the maximum amount of time the total eclipse can be viewed is two minutes and 40 seconds.
“The Wilson County [Fairgrounds] is only two seconds off the longest time,” she said.
Calls to Lebanon Special School District officials were not immediately returned.