Solar eclipse could damage students eyes as they’re released from class: parents


They’ll be be reading, writing and retina-burning!

Parents are imploring the city Department of Education to do more to keep young students from damaging their eyes during Monday’s solar eclipse — which peaks citywide just as many schools are dismissed at around 3 p.m.

“The city should do more to protect our kids… If anything happens to my son, I’m going to blame them,” Farzann Mitul, the mother of a 12-year-old who attends J.H.S. George J. Ryan in East Flushing, Queens, told The Post.

New York City parents are concerned that their children may damage their eyes looking at the solar eclipse on Monday after school is dismissed.

Youngsters in the Big Apple will be tempted to stare directly at the cosmically cool event —  as the moon covers 89 percent of the sun —  potentially damaging their retina cells and even leading to partial blindness, worried parents said.

“It can be dangerous if they are outside,” said Mintonwanou Aivoddi, whose 4-year-old son attends the aptly named Bright Beginnings Preschool in Jamaica, Queens.

“Children are curious  —  my son, too. You might tell them, ‘Don’t look up’  but you know how they are, some are going to do it anyway,” said Aivoddi, who is a taxi driver.

The eclipse will peak in New York City around 3 p.m. on Monday — just as schools are letting out for the day. Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

“I’m afraid for my child,” added Katherine Colon, 39,  whose 5-year-old gets out of P.S. 35 in Hells Kitchen at 2:20 p.m.

“I worry about her because she is curious and might want to look up even for a short time. Without the proper glasses, that’s no good.”

Everything to know about the 2024 solar eclipse

  • The solar eclipse will take place Monday, April 8, blocking the sun for over 180 million people in its path.
  • The eclipse will expand from Mexico’s Pacific Coast across North America, hitting 15 US states and pulling itself all the way to the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
  • New Yorkers will experience the solar eclipse just after 2 p.m. Monday.
  • A huge explosion on the sun, known as a coronal mass ejection, is anticipated, according to experts. This happens when massive particles from the sun are hurled out into space, explains Ryan French of the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.
  • To avoid serious injury to the eyes, it is necessary to view the event through proper eyewear like eclipse glasses, or a handheld solar viewer, during the partial eclipse phase before and after totality.
  • The next total solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 12, 2026, and totality will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Spain, Russia and a small slice of Portugal. 

The eye-sizzling spectacle will be visible in the Big Apple between 2:10 and 4:36 p.m. with a maximum view at 3:25 p.m. It’s just moments after the bell rings in many city classrooms and kids are set free to travel home unsupervised.

Mitul, meanwhile, said her son was supposed to receive protective eyewear in class but never got it.

“He gets out of school at 2:45 p.m., takes the bus and gets home at 3:45pm. That’s when everything is happening. I am really nervous about him,” said the 35-year-old Burger King manager.

Experts advise people to not look at the eclipse without protective eyeglasses. Carlos Tischler/ Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images

“He already has problems with his eyes. He wears glasses with thick lenses,” said Mitul.“There is no way he can look up in the sky.  If he does, there is the possibility he can lose his sight or  damage his eyes even more.”

She and other parents said the city should close schools or release young students early on Monday to keep them safe.

Hundreds of schools ranging from Maine to Texas, including some in upstate New York,  have canceled class to protect students’ eyes from harmful solar radiation and ensure they get home safely.

The moon covering the sun during the last eclipse in 2017. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File

Looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse can burn retina cells and lead to solar retinopathy, a permanent photochemical injury to the eye’s macular tissue.

After every solar eclipse reports of the condition spike, with U.S. eye doctors seeing dozens of extra visits after the 2017 eclipse, according to health reports.

The New York City Department of Education didn’t immediately return The Post’s request for comment Thursday.

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