Information re: Monday's Solar Eclipse

April 4, 2024

Dear Shrewsbury Families,

I’m sure you have seen many news reports about the upcoming partial solar eclipse that will occur on Monday, April 8.  I am asking that you speak to your child(ren) (no matter how old they are!) about the fact that during a partial eclipse it is not safe at any time to look directly at the sun without special eclipse glasses, even when it is mostly darkened at the peak of the eclipse.  

It is very important to note that permanent eye damage can result from looking directly at the sun during a partial eclipse. The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that  “looking at the sun without the right eye protection – even for a short time – can damage your retina permanently.  It can even cause blindness, called solar retinopathy.”  I ask that parents and caregivers talk with your children to remind them not to look at the partial eclipse unless they are wearing special eclipse glasses or a viewer that meets the ISO 12312-2 standard.  Eclipse glasses or viewers should be inspected to ensure that they are not torn, scratched, or damaged.  Important: Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or camera lenses, and polarizing filters are all unsafe for viewing this partial eclipse – one must use eclipse glasses/viewer.  Please see the bottom of this message for links to expert information on safe eclipse viewing.

You can click here for a simulation of what it will look like in Shrewsbury, where the eclipse will begin around 2:15pm, move toward 93% coverage at the peak at 3:28pm, and then will continue until ending just after 4:30pm.  As most of the eclipse will take place during and after preschool, high school, and middle school dismissal times, there are not school-wide viewings taking place at those levels – however, these students will be reminded about the eclipse and eye safety this week and again on Monday, and I ask that you reinforce this message at home.

Our elementary schools are providing the option for students to view the eclipse prior to the end of the school day using proper eclipse glasses provided by the school; the principals will send out more specific information to their school communities about this.  Each elementary school will be teaching students about safe viewing this week and on Monday as part of this process and reminding students again at dismissal.

Thank you for your assistance in reviewing and reinforcing with your child – no matter how old they are – the importance of not looking directly at the sun during the partial eclipse without eclipse glasses, so that this incredible astronomical phenomenon can be experienced safely.   



Joe Sawyer

Superintendent of Schools


Solar Eclipse Safety Links:  

NASA Multilingual Safety Infographics

American Academy of Pediatrics – Watching Safely with Children

American Academy of Ophthalmology – Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

Prevent Blindness: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Eyes During Solar Eclipses


Solar Eclipse Children’s Education Links:

NASA Eclipse Information Page

NASA Science: What is a Solar Eclipse?

PBS Video: Why the 2024 Solar Eclipse is Such a Big Deal

Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education Resources

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