Schools in Mobile County ban outdoor eclipse-viewing

Citing safety concerns, Mobile County Public School System officials have decided that all students should be kept indoors during next week's solar eclipse.

According to an apparent MCPSS message shared among parents on Facebook, the school system had drawn a line on eclipse viewing based on eye safety concerns. (NASA does advise that looking directly at an eclipse, even for a short time, can damage the retina.)

"Students and staff in the Mobile County Public Schools WILL NOT VIEW the solar eclipse OUTSIDE," stated the notice. It went on to say that "All MCPSS students and staff are to be inside the school buildings during the eclipse. No physical education activities, including practice for sports are to be held outside. Sports practice may resume outside after the conclusion of the eclipse at 3:00 p.m." To the extent that "some movement" might be necessary because of lunch waves, class changes and dismissal, "the often repeated message throughout this week and the day Monday must be: Do Not Look at the Sun during the Eclipse."

Mobile County had previously informed parents that students with signed permission slips could view the eclipse at school events, but the bulletin said "those directions have been recalled."

Alabama will have a partial view of the eclipse.

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