Cerabino: School’s out, video games in, for solar eclipse

Palm Beach County’s public schools are allowing students to stay home on Monday so they can safely observe the afternoon’s partial solar eclipse for as long as their parents allow.

Students who choose to go to school may only view the eclipse during principal-authorized viewing events with glasses approved by the American Astronomical Society in sessions that last no longer than three minutes.

I suspect that many of the students who will be skipping school on Monday have no interest in the eclipse, but are simply looking to turn this rare celestial event into an extra day of leisure.

So how do you as a parent write that excuse note to the school?

Don’t worry. As a full-service newspaper columnist, I’ve got you covered. No matter what the devotion level your child has to celestial happenings, I’ve written you a one-size-fits-all note that you can use to explain the absence of your little (astronomerslacker).

Just pick the best words in italics that fit your situation.


Dear School Principal:

This is a note to explain why my son missed school Monday.

From an early age, he has exhibited an uncanny fascination with the workings of the ( solar / video-gaming ) system.

I’ve lost track of the number of hours he has spent spent gazing at the ( stars in the skyscreen in his room ), as he devotes himself to the (wW)orld of ( astronomyWarcraft ) and the ( mathematical nuances / cheat codes ) that unlock its secrets.

There are times I will come home from work and ask what he has done that day, and he will say excitedly, “I ( charted a near-Earth asteroid.”leveled up to a paladin.”)

Yes, he’s a committed learner. So naturally, he was very excited about Monday’s solar eclipse and has been making preparations to get the most out of it. Just the other day, he went to the ( library / WaWa ) and got himself a pair of ( sunglasses / Mountain Dews) for the big day.

He saw this as a rare opportunity to ( observe a partial eclipse of the sunlead a raid against the Nighthold dungeon.)

It’s something he will be talking about to ( hisscience teacherthe other member of the Horde) for quite some time.

I can assure you that as ( the eclipse became visiblehe woke up for the day ) on Monday afternoon at 1:30, he immediately had his (special glassesgame controller ) on his ( face / lap ) and was ready to make his observations as a ( journal entrytrash-talking blood elf).

In the event that you would require documentation to how he spent his day off, I have attached to this note ( a copy of his journalan empty bag of Funyons).

As a parent, I appreciate the district giving students the ability to get to another level in their ( educationgame ) by allowing them the ( real fantasy ) life chance to engage in independent ( studyr0le play ).

It is through opportunities like this that students learn to maximize their time fighting against ( low expectationsthe Burning Legion ) and ( limited opportunitiesthe undead Scourge).

Chances like this shouldn’t be missed. So thank you.

Writing this letter has made me realize that the next time I might have a chance to write a similar note will be in seven years, the year the next solar eclipse is visible in North America.

And by then, who knows? My young scholar may very well be ( in collegea Mage).

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