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Aroostook County schools plan closures, early releases for solar eclipse

As many Maine residents make plans to view the total solar eclipse on April 8, schools are also planning for the historic event.

In Aroostook County, Regional School Unit 29 serves Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello where Superintendent Joel Fagnant says the school board has canceled school for the day.

"So we have given our entire district the day off because we are experiencing many, many, many areas of our community will be inundated with traffic and visitors," Fagnant said.

Several districts in the path of totality have joined in cancelling school, while others have instead elected to have early dismissal.

In Aroostook County, School Administrative District 32 serves Ashland, Masardis, Garfield Plantation and nearby unorganized townships. Superintendent and Principal Joel Hall says the district decided to release students early, to make sure they will be home before the eclipse.

"I think you're gonna find if you talk to most of the County schools, they're on the same plan if they are going to school at all on that particular day," Hall said.

He says on top of hoping students get to witness the historic event, there were concerns about the many visitors in the area as well as heavy traffic.

Kaitlyn Budion is Maine Public’s Bangor correspondent, joining the reporting team after several years working in print journalism.