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Rochester Museum & Science Center donates 32,000 eclipse glasses to Rochester schools

A pair of eclipse glasses with blue cardboard with an RMSC logo rest on the green grass in front of the Strasenburgh Planetarium on a sunny day. Blue skies and a few puffy white clouds are in the background behind the planetarium. On the building's wall there is a large astronomy-themed sign that says, The Home of Infinite Curiosity.
provided by Dan Schneiderman
RMSC donates 32,000 eclipse glasses to the Rochester City School District.

The Rochester Museum & Science Center has donated 32,000 eclipse glasses to the City School District ahead of the April 8 solar eclipse.

The Rochester Board of Education voted Tuesday to accept the gift, which is estimated to be worth $80,000.

“Yay! That's exciting,” school board member Camille Simmons said. “It is a wonderful gift for our students and educators. It's going to be an exciting time in Rochester.”

“I'm hoping because of this, we have more students who one day choose the field of physics, or become astronomers, and truly start gazing up at the stars,” school board member Amy Maloy said.

Each pair of glasses is about 1/100 of a pound, so 32,000 pairs is hefty: 320 pounds.

When district staff picked up 10 boxes of them in late January, “the cart was almost buckling underneath it,” said Dan Schneiderman, RMSC’s eclipse partnership coordinator.

"We know that not everyone would be able to have glasses at home,” Schneiderman said, “but we just wanted to make sure that everyone could have glasses, every student, every teacher, just because no one should miss out on this eclipse."

The donated glasses have certified safety lenses meant for viewing the sun without causing eye injury.

“We want our scholars to know that you can't use sunglasses to look at the eclipse. You need to wear these specialty eclipse glasses,” Maloy said. “So that makes this gift even more important.”

Rochester will not be in the path of totality for a solar eclipse again until 2144.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.