School district arranges for safe eclipse viewing

ANDERSON — Many in the United States will have the chance to bear witness to the first total solar eclipse in nearly 40 years on Monday, Aug. 21, prompting some to have viewing parties for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

The Frankton-Lapel Community School Corp. is getting in on the act, allowing students to take time out from their school day to witness history.

Superintendent Bobby Fields announced Thursday, Aug. 10, that the corporation had purchased “Eclipse Glasses” for all students and staff in the corporation. The event, which begins at about noon and will peak shortly after 2 p.m., was deemed historically important enough for the corporation to allow all students to take part and witness the eclipse.

“It’s a very rare occurrence,” Fields said. “We want to take advantage of it as a corporation. Since it takes place while we’re in school, we ordered glasses for every student. We’re going to make a big deal out of it on the afternoon of the 21st — I just hope it’s sunny (outside).”

Fields added that the opportunity for the students far outweighed the minor expense of the glasses.

“The glasses cost us less than a dollar apiece,” he said. “It wasn’t a huge expense, but I think it would be something pretty cool for our corporation to do as a whole.”

There is a danger of injury if one is looking at the eclipse with the naked eye. The glasses, purchased from Flinn Scientific, filter 100 percent of harmful ultra-violet and infrared light and 99.99 percent of intense visible light, according to the company’s website.

The glasses are also recommended by the American Astronomical Society for use when viewing an eclipse.

An email was sent to all parents, and anyone not wishing for their child to view the eclipse should contact the school.

In other board business:

• Jeanine Terhune spoke with the school board about the coming year for the Lapel show choir, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2017-18 school year. She said at each program, alumni from throughout the history of the show choir will participate in those events.

• Health insurance claims continued to decline as compared to 2016. July saw a drop in claims of $83,604 compared to last year, bringing the total dip in health claim expenditures for 2017 to $271,321 less than at the same time in 2016.

• Fields gave an update on construction projects that have been ongoing throughout the summer. He said paving is complete at all school lots and that striping is expected to be completed soon. He said the installation of LED lights at all buildings is going to start this week and should take two weeks, adding that most of that work will be done in the evenings after school. He said the flooring is almost done at Lapel elementary and middle schools, with just a few details to be completed, and the painting of lockers is proceeding as expected.

• Board president Brian Gill reminded everyone that there will be a public hearing on the corporation’s budget for 2018 at the Sept. 14 meeting, and the budget is expected to be approved at the Oct. 12 meeting.

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Rob Hunt covers news, sports and other happenings in South Madison County. He can be reached at or (765) 778-2324.