After parents of incoming freshman voiced concerns of Monday’s solar eclipse distracting students on their first day of class, the Florida Department of Education and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have made the decision to cancel the rare celestial event in the state of Florida.
“Florida is committed to high quality education,” said Governor Rick Scott in a press release, “It’s for that reason that we have decided to cancel today’s eclipse. This is an effort to ensure that our students return to school free from hindrances to their education”
Thus far, Florida is the only state in the country to opt out the solar eclipse. This means that rather than seeing the moon obscure between 70% and 90% of the sun, a breathtaking astronomical phenomenon that will not be visible in the area (at the same magnitude) for another twenty-eight years, Florida residents will instead see a plain, familiar, uncovered sun.
Residents of Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola will still be able to see the eclipse if they choose to drive across the border into Georgia, where Scott’s cancellation is not in effect.
The Stallion sent reporters into the field to see how the University was reacting to Scott’s decision.
“I think it’s important that we do everything possible to minimize any interruptions to our student’s education,” said Mary Taylor, mother of a UCF student. “We don’t need this disappearing sun mumbo jumbo on Monday of all days. I’m proud of Governor Scott for getting rid of it here.”
“I mean, I wasn’t going to class anyway,” said Allan Taylor, Mary’s son. “It’s syllabus week, what’s the point? The eclipse was just going to be a kind of bonus, I guess. But otherwise I would have just been taking a nap at that time anyway.”
One unintended consequence of the cancellation has to do with the number of specialty “eclipse glasses” a number of students and faculty bought in preparation of the event. “I paid $49.95 for these glasses, and now you’re telling me they’re worthless?” said senior Greg Bowen, “This is just like when I was buying textbooks as a freshmen, spending money on things I’ll never use.”
When he was informed of the cancellation, President Hitt commended the state for taking steps to ensure students would not sacrifice class time for frivolous events. “Nothing should eclipse our students’ educational pursuits,” he claimed. He then reminded students and faculty that next Thursday all classes after 3 PM will be cancelled in preparation for UCF Football’s home opener against FIU.