Maryland schools move sports practices in light of eclipse

Posted at 6:17 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 18:17:47-04

Plain and simple, it's bad to look into the sun. Just a few seconds can actually cause vision loss.

“It's truly very strong visible light that actually cooks the cells in the retina,” said Optometrist Dr. David Ross.

It's a risk that several school systems don't want to take. They're now moving around sports practice schedules to better ensure your child's vision isn't compromised.

“It's all based on student safety. We just want to make sure the kids are safe,” said Jeff Markle, the athletic director at Parkville High School.

Markle was notified by the Baltimore County School System that all practices between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Monday will now be moved indoors.

“My biggest safety concerns, and I think from the athletic perspective, is just the kids are going to stare at it regardless of when you tell them, 'hey, you shouldn't be looking at it.'  They're going to anyways,” said Markle.

And it's happened before. People were so eager not to miss history that they ended up hurting themselves unintentionally.

“We had a similar event years ago and we personally saw two patients with what's called solar retinopathy. They had partial burns to the center part of their retina,” said Dr. Ross.

Several Harford County Public Schools will also be moving around schedules so there's no practice during the time of the eclipse.

“This takes a lot of burden off of me because my kids are going to be inside now so I don't have to worry about my coaches reinforcing that they don't stare at the sun and they do it anyways. They'll be inside so that won't be an issue,” Markle said.

Athletics at Washington County and Charles County schools will also be moved around.

Practice will go on as originally planned in Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, unless otherwise noted.

Howard County Public Schools issued this statement on their decision:

"After consulting with the HCPSS Risk Management Office, HCPSS will not restrict outdoor activities on that day. However, parents and staff are advised to review NASA’s guidelines about safe viewing practices, and share the information with students. Coaches will adjust practice schedules as appropriate."