Out of all the school districts throughout New Jersey, almost all of them are in session on Monday, April 8, 2024, minus a few for spring break. For those districts on spring break during that time, then this won't apply to you.

For every other school district, however, April 8 should be a 1 PM or sooner dismissal across the board. That means any school that isn't on spring break needs to shut down early.

As of right now, one school district in The Garden State is doing just that, and we should be applauding them. The Livingston Public School District has called for an early dismissal on April 8, 2024.

They even took it a step further and rearranged activities during the afternoon. It was a smart move, and it's one all New Jersey school districts should also consider.

School classroom in Japanese high school
(Getty images)

READ MORE: NJ School district calls early dismissal

But why April 8? Why should kids be dismissed early that day? And why should afternoon activities be canceled?

The reason actually makes a lot of sense, even though many won't see it that way. April 8, 2024, is when New Jersey will be witnessing a near-total solar eclipse.

The big issue is the timing of the eclipse, which will be occurring during the afternoon hours. This means that the eclipse will be pretty far along come the usual 3 P.M. dismissal time.

Even schools that let out at 2 P.M. might want to consider pushing that dismissal time just a bit sooner.


The Pushback

One of the arguments from both parents and non-parents is simply this. It's not that big of a deal, especially if kids are already in the school building.

That argument is only partly true. Yes, the kids will be in the building at the start of the eclipse, but it'll still be underway when the kids get let out.

Once that final bell goes off, the teachers and school staff are no longer responsible for keeping your kids inside and sheltered.

ALSO SEE: NJ trends wrong direction in new 2024 education ranking

(Credit: Mike Rachel)

A Big Deal

Yes, this is a big deal, and for many reasons. Right off the bat, it's a once-in-a-lifetime event happening throughout the Garden State.

Second, far too many people are going to be looking up at the sun without eye protection, especially if they're forced to be outside the school. It's just a given that that's going to happen, and it's not just the kids.

Parents and guardians alike will also be taking a look and risking damage to their eyes. It's better to have the schools be closed during that time to reduce the risk.

It's also why school activities and events should be canceled or rescheduled until after the eclipse has passed.

Total Solar Eclipse in 2017 (Justin Louis)
Total Solar Eclipse in 2017 (Justin Louis)

Family Opportunity

Probably the biggest reason is right here. Let the kids experience this event while they're young with their family.

This won't be happening again for a long time with such incredible totality (around 80% in New Jersey). The kids, along with the school staff, should absolutely be allowed to witness such a rare event in our own backyard.

Just remember to be smart and not look directly at the sun. As long as you have proper eye protection, you should be good to go.

The school day will still count even if it's an early dismissal, so just the kids out so everyone can see it safely for themselves.

eclipse glasses
Eclipse glasses (Edelman Planetarium)

Next Opportunity

Although there will be another solar eclipse for New Jersey in 2025, it won't be anywhere close to what we'll be experiencing on April 8, 2024.

The next solar eclipse that even comes close is still another five years away. And in case you're wondering, New Jersey will eventually experience at least one solar eclipse that's at 100% totality.

LOOK! Every solar eclipse to affect NJ through 2100

From partial to complete totality, here's a complete look at every upcoming solar eclipse affecting New Jersey throughout the 21st century, according to timeanddate.com. Peak times are approximate and will vary based on precise viewing location.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

SEE IT: Solar eclipse road trip? Where NJ sky-watchers can go this April

Wow! Views of the sunrise solar eclipse in U.S. and world

A partial solar eclipse was visible June 10, 2021 as the sun rose over the East Coast.

Gallery Credit: Associated Press

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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