All EMSB schools will be closed during April's solar eclipse — except FACE

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The English Montreal School Board has erred on the side of caution and “in light of” a solar eclipse happening April 8 will close most schools and daycares.

FACE is the only elementary and high school that will have a regular school day. The building is eclipsed by downtown Montreal skyscrapers and a mountain, so that might help.

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The Sir Wilfried Laurier School Board has also cancelled classes for April 8. The decision to create or move a pedagogical day is made at the school board and individual school level. Other English school boards in Quebec have yet to release their decisions.

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The event begins at 2:15 p.m. and ends at 4:36 p.m., when children are most likely to be outside waiting for parents or school buses. The “moment of totality” is 3:27 p.m., the Montreal Science Centre says.

As the moon passes in front of the sun, the sky will go dark and “the magnificent solar corona becomes visible to the naked eye,” according to the science centre. The totality will last around three minutes.

The EMSB posted the decision on its Facebook page and was flooded with more than 80 comments, which appeared to fall into four categories:

  • It’s a great opportunity to experience this event with your children.
  • But I have to work!
  • Kids should do as they’re told and not look at the sun.
  • Have you ever met kids? Of course they’re going to look at the sun.

What’s the big deal, anyway?

“On a regular day, your eyes will automatically resist when you try to stare directly at the sun,” the Montreal Science Centre says. “When there is an eclipse, most of these rays are hidden, which makes it seem safe to look at them directly, but it’s not. The sun’s rays are powerful, and even just a few can burn your retinas.”

The only safe ways to watch an eclipse are with specially designed glasses, by watching indirectly or using a handmade projector. The science centre includes tips on its website,

EMSB adult education and vocational centres will be open.

This is the first total solar eclipse visible in Montreal since 1938 and it will be 180 years till there’s another.

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