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OCDSB closing schools for April 8 eclipse

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board says all schools will be closed on April 8 out of an abundance of caution for a rare solar eclipse that will move through eastern Ontario.

A statement by the English public school board on Friday said the decision was made after “exploring several options and consulting with the Ministry and key stakeholders.”

Other school districts in eastern Ontario, including the Ottawa Catholic School Board, had already made the decision to move their April Professional Activity (PA) days to that date. However, the OCDSB says it does not have a PA day that can be moved.

Transportation and OCDSB operated Extended Day programs will not operate, but toddler preschool and EarlyOn Child and Family Centres will operate normally.

The eclipse occurring on April 8 will last for 2 hours and 23 minutes, beginning at 2:11 p.m. and ending at 4:35 p.m. The eclipse will reach its peak at 3:25 p.m.

Virtually all school and program dismissal times occur during that window.

A total solar eclipse sees the moon align perfectly between earth and the sun, creating “temporary darkness” across parts of the country, the Canadian Space Agency says.

Officials warn that looking directly at the sun without appropriate protection during the total solar eclipse, “can lead to serious problems such as partial or complete loss of eyesight.”

While Ottawa is just outside the path of totality, Belleville and Montreal are in the path of totality for the solar eclipse.

The Canadian Space Agency says the solar eclipse will begin in Belleville on April 8 at 3:21 p.m. and last 2 minutes and 4 seconds, while it will begin in Montreal at 3:26 p.m. and last 1 minute and 27 seconds.

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