The stars (and moon) are aligning for a crazy first day of school in Sumter next year

An early prediction for Sumter in 2017? The first day of school for the 2017-18 Sumter School District academic year is likely to be even more chaotic than usual.  In fact, the stars and the moon will literally align to make it happen.

To start, most local parents with school-aged children already know how discombobulated the first day of school can be for teachers, parents and students alike.

Students are trying to find their classroom, often loaded down with supplies (which, the school district stressed are voluntary), while feeling the stress of whether they will be able to have classes with their friends, make friends with their classmates, or simply survive.

Parents, worried about their children, are also trying to figure out drop-off and pick-up routines and learn who their children’s teachers are (or at least trying to recall their names) while some are beginning to worry if this is the year they’ll no longer be able to help their kids with their homework without having to study some themselves.   More seasoned parents know that year came and went long ago.

Teachers are in the process of trying to learn the names of hundreds of new students while attempting to establish a standard for how their classroom will operate for the rest of the year, knowing full well they’ll be changing lesson plans at least 3.14 million times.  First-year teachers typically leave school that first day wide-eyed, often trying to figure out exactly what they’ve done to their lives.

Next year, however, they’ll need to be careful with that wide-eyed stare, for that first day of school will be August 21, 2017, which also happens to be the day of the next total solar eclipse.

To make things even more interesting, according to the folks at, not only is Sumter directly in the path of the eclipse, but the eclipse will be at its strongest at about 2:42 p.m.  Yep, the sun will disappear from the sky right around the time of dismissal for almost all of Sumter’s public schools.

If you’re a fan of stalled-traffic pandemonium, this could very likely be your lucky day.

And while this isn’t the most serious problem we’ll face next year, there are some legitimate reasons to be concerned.

After all, an eclipse, just like the sun on any clear day, is not something we want our kids staring directly into at any time.  Here are some tips on how to make sure your children (or you) don’t hurt yourself.

Also, like any other rubbernecking-worthy spectacle existing outside a windshield, some drivers have a tendency to forget to pay attention to other things, like the road, or the kids walking around in them, who most likely will also not be paying attention.

It might be more than seven months off, but our suggestion is to be prepared.  While we’re not expecting this to bring on our world’s destruction (after all, if 2016 couldn’t do it, what can?), this will probably be the best chance most of us, including our kids, have to witness this type of celestial event.

The district might also want to consider getting glasses for all the kids that day, especially those riding the bus.  But, hey, we understand budgetary issues. (Hopefully they will soon, too.)

With a little planning, the first day of school could end up being the most educational one of the year.

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