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WSU's 1st Day Back Overshadowed By Solar Eclipse


Washington State University students may have to choose between their first classes of fall semester and the total solar eclipse.

Washington State University students may have to choose between their first classes of fall semester and the total solar eclipse.

Scott Leadingham, Northwest Public Radio

On Aug. 21, the moon will block the sun causing a giant shadow in the Northwest. But the day of the much-anticipated total solar eclipse is also Washington State University’s first day of fall classes.

Some WSU students and staff are disappointed that the first day of fall classes is also the day of a rare solar eclipse — meaning that they have to decide between classes or travel to the path of totality.  


But WSU sets its academic calendar years ahead of time. And it’s very costly to cancel a day of classes — even for epic snow. So there’s no changing it now. 


Still, WSU’s Vancouver campus has purchased 500 pairs of solar-eclipse-watching glasses for students who are willing to settle for a partial view. 


And in Pullman, where the bulk of students are, about 96 percent of the eclipse will be visible. It will look sort of like a bite out of a cookie. WSU officials warn students they will still need glasses if they plan to stare at the sun.

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