WRDSB flip flops: Board now closing schools on Monday due to solar eclipse

With just days to go until the solar eclipse, the Waterloo Region District School Board has announced that schools will be closed to students on Monday.

The move comes as an about-face. On March 6 the board issued a release that said schools would remain open.

The WRDSB announced that decision despite boards across the province, including the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, announcing that schools will close for kids’ safety.

The public board says it made the change after listening to concerns from parents and staff about the eclipse.

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“Concerns for student safety have always been at the forefront of the decision-making for this day,” a release from the school read. “The initial decision to have a regular school day was one we felt was possible, given the safety protocols we were prepared to implement. This would have allowed for an exciting once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.”

When the Catholic board announced the move, it said there were concerns over students hurting their eyes as they headed home from school and potentially looked upwards to see the phenomenon.

The eclipse is scheduled to appear in the area around 3:18 p.m.

The Catholic board moved a PD Day that was originally scheduled for April 19 to April 8 when it announced its plans back in mid-February. The public board has a PD Day set for Wednesday, although a release made no mention of moving that day to Monday.

The last-minute decision is sure to leave many parents searching for childcare, a factor the board says it considered in making the move.

“We recognize the challenges this change for April 8 may cause some families and are especially sorry about those who will need to make alternative child care arrangements,” the board noted. “We continue to hope that students will have the opportunity to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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