The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice


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Safety matters: Staff organize a special day with taking safety and comfort into strong consideration

On Apr. 8, at exactly 1:36 PM, the city of Austin will be in the path of a total solar eclipse that is not expected to happen again in the next two decades. Students who plan to be present on this day will have the opportunity to watch the solar eclipse using specific glasses at the Monroe Stadium from 1 PM to 2 PM.

Associate Principal Amanda Toon had a meeting with the other staff on Monday Apr 1 to discuss the process of the glasses and was impressed by the way they are manufactured.

“We’ve ordered [the glasses] for all of the students and they’re kind of cool because you can barely even see through it, so it’s very safe,” Toon said.

Handling such a huge production and cost for these solar eclipse glasses is tough, as Vandegrift pays tribute to those who have been able to provide glasses to the students in their latest Smore (a quick brief written by the staff) regarding the day of the solar eclipse.

“With the support of campus funds, PTAs, and our greater community, Leander ISD has secured safe-viewing glasses for students and staff,” the VHS staff wrote.

On Apr. 1, the staff’s main point of discussion was on how to hand out the glasses to the thousands of students.

“Students will receive their eclipse glasses in their 2nd period class,” the latest Smore wrote.

Jessica Stamp

Associate Principal Toon adds on to explain this process further and emphasizes the organization efforts put into this day.

“We thought a lot about this [on Apr. 1] and we decided that we will have different tables set up at the entry into the stadium, and we’ll have multiple people handing out [the glasses] as students are walking in,” Toon said.

Although this process ensures safety during the solar eclipse, families do have an option to opt-out their student from viewing the eclipse.

“Anything that’s a little out of the typical ordinary day, there tends to be an opt out [option],” Toon said. “I assume that the students who are opting out or parents who are opting students out are typically doing that at the elementary level.”

The only thing families need to do to opt-out their student from the assembly is to fill out a google form linked in the Smore.

“Students whose parents [want to opt their student out] complete this Google Form will not be permitted outdoors during the eclipse except in case of an emergency,” the Smore states.

This event took a lot of organization from staff and a lot of effort to make it the best experience possible.

“We’ll just be hanging out and we’re having some music and more of a relaxing day,” Toon said. “It’s an experience to be able to be in the stadium and be able to see this once in a lifetime solar eclipse and so we wanted that to be the focus.”

Eclipse Q&A with AP Toon
What will the school day look like on the day of the eclipse?

"We’re going to have an extended passing period. We’ll have all the four classes in the morning and then lunch will be split within the last class. So, some students will be going from lunch out to the stadium and some will be going from a class. We will get some groups from building 2 to go out from the athletic entrance, the gym area, and the cafeteria area to the stadium. The groups in building 1 will either come out through the front door or courtyard door and we’ll have staff lined up along the way [to help] filter into [the stadium].”

Once at the stadium, will there be a pep rally or are there other activities planned?

“We actually decided not to do a pep rally because we have a lot of students whose parents have chosen to keep them home. They have family plans for the Eclipse; it’s a once in a lifetime experience, which we totally understand. So, we don’t think that we’re going to have enough of anybody in any one program to do a full assembly. We’re thinking about music and we’ll let students bring blankets and go out on the field. I don’t know that we’ll have enough room on the field for everybody, so we’ll have the stands open as well.”

Why has our school opted to not cancel school for that day?

“We asked the district about that. They’ve explained their thoughts on how it’s such an amazing learning opportunity for students. They want to make sure that we have that open for everybody. I think that there are pros and cons to it. I know that everybody would love to have the day off and to do that with family but they can still do that. And this way we have an opportunity for students to come to campus and get an opportunity to see it. We’re going to provide free glasses and make sure everyone’s doing it safely, so it allows for the best of both worlds.”

Can students opt out of participating in the eclipse viewing?

“There’s also going to be an opt out or for families who don’t want their kids to go out in the stadium during the solar eclipse.”
ViperByte: “Students whose parents complete the google form will not be permitted outdoors during the eclipse unless in case of an emergency.”

How can students let the attendance office know if they will be absent due to family plans?

“We’re going to be sending out a link to families if they’re choosing to keep their child home or do something as a family. We’ve had a few emails from parents just letting us know or asking questions that some of them have planned events or have plans to go out of town, some of these plans people have been making for over a year. There’s going to be a [form] that parents can fill out instead of sending notes because that way [the attendance office] is not going through a million notices.”

Will eclipse-related absences be excused?

“The district is allowing us to excuse [the absence], so anyone that fills out that form will have an excused absence. That absence does count towards hours. So if somebody is at the threshold where they’re going to be owing hours, then it would count as hours towards their account.”

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About the Contributor
Swetha Sathish
Swetha Sathish, Staff Reporter

Swetha is a junior and is super excited to serve her first year on staff and have an amazing new experience this year! Apart from newspaper, she is a part of the Varsity Girls Golf Team. Outside of school, Swetha enjoys playing golf and other sports, travelling, biking, photography, and spending time with family.

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