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A scientific association denounces the closure of schools on the day of the solar eclipse, April 8, 2024

A scientific association denounces the closure of schools on the day of the solar eclipse, April 8, 2024

The Association for the Teaching of Science and Technology of Quebec (AESTQ) denounced the “total delirium” of some school service centers that decided to close their doors on April 8 due to the solar eclipse expected that day. Other schools took the initiative to provide protective glasses to their students and make this day a unique educational experience.

“For us, it is absolutely crazy to close schools during the eclipse. It feels like the end of the world is about to happen. I feel like… Tintin », frankly calls the Director General of AESTQ, Camille Turcotte, when he calls him duty Wednesday.

In recent weeks, many school service centers have announced that they will close on April 8, when a total solar eclipse will be observed. So far, there are at least ten School Service Centers (CSS) in Quebec that will not open that day, according to a partial compilation produced by the association and sent to duty Wednesday. These comprehensive safety standards particularly highlighted the risks that a solar eclipse could pose to children's eye health if they do not use approved goggles.

“Given the time period during which the eclipse will occur, it is impossible for us to fulfill our obligation to provide appropriate supervision for all our students in order to avoid the risks associated with unsafe observation of this phenomenon,” justified the CSS de la Rivière-du-Nord on its website.

“A missed opportunity”

However, “depriving students of this experience contradicts the basic goals of education, which aim to stimulate curiosity, wonder, and discovery of the world around us,” the non-profit association denounces, in a press release.

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She remembers that a solar eclipse is a “rare astronomical phenomenon,” which represents a unique opportunity to educate young people about this topic. The next total solar eclipse over eastern Canada will not occur until 2079.

M explains.I Turcotte, in the interview. She is also saddened to note that À la Découverte de l'Univers provided more than 35,000 pairs of goggles to teachers in Laval so they could distribute them to their students on the day of the eclipse. However, the latter will eventually have to stay at home, deplores Camille Turcotte, since the CSS de Laval has made April 8 an educational day. This will also be the case for the CSS des Hauts-Cantons, in Estrie, and the CSS de la Rivière-du-Nord, in Laurentides, as well as the CSS des Portages-de-l'Outaouais, among others.

“Teachers want schools to stay open; Many have already bought glasses and now the rug is being pulled out from under them,” says M.I Turcotte, who sees this as a “missed opportunity” to provide an unparalleled educational experience for students.

AESTQ also states that a solar eclipse poses no danger as long as you wear safety glasses when observing it. “Students, even young children, are able to understand this simple rule,” notes Camille Turcotte, who also denounces Quebec's lack of action to prevent the closure of schools on April 8.

“I was hoping that the elected officials and civil servants at the Department of Education would seize this opportunity, but that was not the case,” she sighs.

At the beginning of the month, Education Minister Bernard Drainville encouraged schools to remain open on the day of the solar eclipse, while calling on them to ensure proper supervision of their students and provide them with protective glasses.

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Schools are adapting

These icons, such as CSS cells from Laurentides, protect their hearts and provide protection for the senses of their children and personnel even if they use this rare phenomenon of “education and security management” , according to communication Intended for parents of students in this school service center. However, parents will have to ensure that their children return home, as no school transportation will be provided at the end of this school day, during which no examination will be conducted to facilitate their progress.

Montreal CSS also announced that its schools will be open. The Montreal Planetarium will also distribute 95,000 pairs of glasses for free to students and staff at school service center organizations. The CSS de la Pointe-de-l'Île will also remain open, as will the CSS Marie-Victorin, on the south shore of the Montreal area, as well as the CSS des Hautes-Laurentides, among others.

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