2024 solar eclipse in Florida: Can students miss school or be excused? – News-Press

There’s a historic solar eclipse on the horizon (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!).
The Great American Eclipse or Total Solar Eclipse will be Monday, April 8, 2024. Does that mean there’s no school that day in Florida? Do we still have to work?
Likely the answer to those questions is yes (again, we’re sorry). But don’t let that dampen your excitement for the solar eclipse, which will be visible across Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Here’s what we know.
As of April 5, the Friday before the much anticipated 2024 Great American Eclipse, Florida school calendars do not list Monday, April 8, 2024, (the day of the eclipse) as a day off.
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For the Great American Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, which was also a school day, school districts in Florida did not give students an extra day off. However, some districts did not penalize students if they missed class to watch the eclipse or if they were traveling somewhere that was in the path of totality. In 2017, Florida was not in the path of totality, meaning people here could not see the total eclipse, but rather a partial eclipse and there was some visibility.
On Aug. 15, 2017, days before the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse, FLORIDA TODAY reported the Brevard County School District was excusing absences for students who stayed home during the much-anticipated solar eclipse. In a follow-up story on Aug. 23, 2017, two days after the eclipse, FLORIDA TODAY reported almost half of Brevard students missed school on account of the eclipse. By the time the dismissal bell rang that Monday, a good chunk of students had already left school to watch the solar eclipse.
Students in Martin County, Florida, who missed that Monday for the Great American Eclipse also were given an excused absence, TCPalm, a USA TODAY Network-Florida newspaper, reported.
Across the state in Lee County, Florida, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, was an excused absence for students, according to a 2017 story by the News-Press. An April 4, 2024, check on Lee County School District’s site shows, “Students may not be absent from school without permission of the principal/designee. The school principal or designee is the only person authorized to excuse a student’s absence.”
The Great American Eclipse or “ring of fire” eclipse occurred on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, so there was no school that day anyway.
For those wondering, Florida was not in the path of totality for the “ring of fire” eclipse, but these states were: Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The ring of fire effect was not visible from Florida, but the eclipse was livestreamed, and millions watched it online. What does the path of annularity mean for the “ring of fire” eclipse? When the moon obscures everything but the outer ring of the sun, hence the nickname “ring of fire,” the path where skywatchers could view this is called the “path of annularity.”
The state of Florida did have a 50 percent to 60 percent chance of seeing a phase of that annular eclipse. People in Florida saw a partial solar eclipse Oct. 14, 2023, beginning at 10:38 a.m. CT/11:38 a.m. ET through 3:13 p.m. ET, according to timeanddate.com.
For the Great American Eclipse on April 8, 2024, once again Florida is not in the path of totality, but some parts from northwest Florida (Crestview and Pensacola, for example) will have up to 80% visibility, according to a NASA eclipse map, vs. Homestead and Coral Gables, which will have about 45% visibility.
While the Sunshine State is not in the path of totality, Floridians will still get a view. For example, Florida was not in the path of annularity for the Great American Eclipse or “ring of fire” on Oct. 14, 2023 − meaning Floridians did not see the “ring of fire” effect from the moon partially covering the sun leaving only a ring of bright yellow − however, residents and visitors here saw a partial solar eclipse, like a fat crescent shape.
Though Florida is not in the path of totality for the April 8, 2024, Total Solar Eclipse, the eclipse can still be seen via protective solar eclipse glasses, shadows on the ground or other creative (and safe) means.
In Florida, it’s referred to as a partial solar eclipse, which starts at 12:35 p.m. CDT through 4:20 p.m. EDT Monday, April 8, 2024, according to timeanddate.com.
Weather permitting, to see all phases of the total solar eclipse, you must be within the path of totality. According to a map on greatamericaneclipse.com, the U.S. path of totality for the Monday, April 8, 2024, eclipse covers parts of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The total eclipse will not be visible from Florida − unless you watch it virtually from a livestream.
In the U.S., totality will begin in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CT and will end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. ET on April 8, 2024. The state of Florida should have a 45% to 75% chance of “maximum partial eclipse,” according to Great American Eclipse online. Expect to see a thin crescent shape to a thicker crescent shape.
Contributing: Yoonserk Pyun, USA TODAY Network, and Kim Luciani, USA TODAY Network-Florida
Sangalang is a lead digital producer for USA TODAY Network-Florida. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @byjensangalang. Support local journalism. Consider subscribing to a Florida newspaper.

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