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Utah schools gearing up for first day of school to celebrate solar eclipse

SALT LAKE CITY – The Solar Eclipse lands on Monday, August 21, which happens to be the first day of school for many Utah students.

In the Salt Lake City School district, administrators are using the once in a lifetime opportunity to spark students' interest in science. Before heading outside to watch the solar eclipse around 11:30 a.m., students will watch NASA’s live feed.

“We've partnered with organizations like the Discovery Center downtown to make sure that kids will be able to learn at their own grade level,” said Yandary Chatwin, a Salt Lake City School District spokesperson. “Some of the teachers are even getting creative with their eclipse snacks, bringing in the dark colored Oreo's, the yellow Oreo's, and having lessons about that before the eclipse starts.”

Granite School District has spent thousands of dollars to purchase protective eyewear so all 68,000 of their students can view the solar eclipse safely. Salt Lake City School District says if some schools don’t have enough glasses, they’ll use alternative methods.

“At one of our elementary schools one of the parents is a science professor at the University of Utah. He is setting up a telescope for an alternate way to view the eclipse safely,” Chatwin said.

If you decide to keep your student at home on Monday, Salt Lake, Granite and Murray School Districts say absences that day will be excused. But they could miss out on a fun, memorable learning experience.

“We can't wait for kids to get here on Monday,” Chatwin said.

Granite School District says they surveyed parents in 2016, and 58 percent chose to stick with the August 21 start date for this school year.