TIS students to watch eclipse outdoors

ALABASTER – Teachers and administrators at Thompson Intermediate School are giving students a special opportunity to experience the upcoming solar eclipse firsthand on Monday, Aug. 21.

According to TIS Principal Brent Byars, students will be equipped with ISO compliant sunglasses, which will enable them to directly watch the eclipse from outside. Byars said students and teachers will walk to the Thompson High School football stadium to view the eclipse from about 1:25 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

In order to ensure their safety, Byars said each student is required to get permission from parents and sign a pledge stating that they will keep their glasses on at all times during the event. Permission slips are due by Friday, Aug. 18. Students who do not have parental permission will be able to watch a live-streamed video of the eclipse.

“We’re all about helping our kids experience the things we’re trying to teach them,” Byars said.

Teachers Frankie Grice and Holly Richardson reached out to Central State Bank, which has a branch open in Alabaster, to provide TIS to provide glasses to all students.

“They had been very generous with CityFest,” Grice said. “I emailed (Senior Vice President) Shane Schroeder and explained what we were planning to do. He immediately responded and said they would be happy to help us.”

Richardson noted that it is important that the glasses, which are manufactured by Lunt Solar Systems, are approved by NASA.

“I know NASA is a trusted national organization,” Richardson said.

Both Richardson and Grice said they used class time to make sure students were prepared for the eclipse beforehand.

“We watched a video from CN and the NASA website on the difference between a lunar and solar eclipse, the frequency of both and the importance of safety,” Richardson said.

Grice described the eclipse as a once-in-a-lifetime event that will serve as an educational opportunity for students.

“This will be something these kids will remember for a long time,” Grice said. “We could just watch the live-stream, but I think it’s important for them to experience this firsthand.”