More than 6,000 students were out of school Aug. 21 or left early, nearly three times as much as a typical school day.
The eclipse cast more than a shadow across the U.S. — it also cast a shadow on school attendance.
On Aug. 21, Sarasota County Schools recorded 6,351 absences and early dismissals among its nearly 44,000 pupil student body. This includes students who were checked out early by their parents during the school day, and students who didn’t show up at all.
For reference, on the previous Thursday — a typical day of school — the school system recorded 1,727 absences and early dismissals.
While it’s impossible to attribute a specific number of Aug. 21’s absences to the eclipse, the school district planned the week before to excuse early dismissals if parents wanted to experience the eclipse with their children, if they were concerned about traffic or if they were concerned about their child walking or taking the bus home.