ELYRIA, Ohio — April 8, 2024 seems like a long way away. But as school leaders start planning their academic calendars for next year, safety officials in Lorain County are advising districts to close on that specific day because of a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is targeting April 8, 2024 due to the arrival of a solar eclipse. The county is expected to be in the path of totality, meaning the Moon's shadow will completely cover the sun. The sky will darken, as if it were dawn or dusk, between 3 p.m. and 3:10 p.m. The duration of totality is expected to be between two and four minutes.
The phenomenon is expected to bring thousands of visitors to Lorain County on that day. In fact, the State of Ohio's Emergency Management Agency has told officials that it should expect the population in Lorain County to triple from just over 312,000 to almost one million.
"One of the most concerning issues we are facing is the mass egress of visitors immediately after the eclipse concludes. We are anticipating extreme traffic events because of this," Lorain County EMA Director Jessica Fetter writes in her letter to schools. Fetter noted that during the 2017 solar eclipse, totality occurred during school dismissal with the mass departure of visitors causing traffic jams that lasted several hours in Missouri.
"Because of the previous incidents of traffic jams, the influx of visitors expected and the anticipated time of the eclipse, the Lorain County EMA is advising that schools in Lorain County close for the day," Fetter adds. "Doing so will help keep the roads clear as well as keep students from spending hours trying to get home."
You can read Fetter's entire letter to Lorain County school leaders below: