Sullivan schools to be out Aug. 21 because of eclipse

Rick Wagner • Aug 7, 2017 at 11:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — It’s official: Sullivan County Schools will be out Monday, Aug. 21, the day of the first solar eclipse going coast to coast across the United States since 1918.

The Board of Education Monday voted 6-0, with Jane Thomas absent, to approve the closing recommendation from Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski. It will count against 11 banked inclement weather days the system has designated.

The eclipse, in which the moon’s shadow will cover about 96 percent of the sun’s surface in the Tri-Cities, will occur from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. but peak starting at about 2:36 p.m. Neighboring Hawkins County Schools are getting out early that day, while Kingsport will be in session as usual and Bristol, Tenn., schools are going an extra hour. Students in Kingsport and Bristol will use school system-purchased safety glasses to watch the event, while county students will get four days of eclipse information embedded across subject areas the week before the eclipse, Rafalowski said. 

The county and Bristol systems will be out on Friday, Aug. 18, because of the NASCAR race events at Bristol Motor Speedway. 

In other action, the board approved a Tennessee-mandated change in credit recovery grades, which mandates students get a 70 percent or just-passing grade in credit recovery classes rather than having to average the failing grade with the credit recovery grade. Rafalowski said the system had no choice but to make the change and she asked the board to do it on first reading because some students likely would recover credit before the September board meeting.

The board also approved school fees for 2017-18, which are unchanged from 2016-17, reviewed three policies on the first of two readings and accepted a $193,691 career technical education grant. In addition, it recognized three Sullivan Central High School students who won SkillsUSA national competition gold medals.


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