An alert from online retailer Amazon means students in Baxter Springs won't be using a batch of special glasses to view the solar eclipse Monday. Kids in fifth grade at Central Elementary spent part of today making a different "tool" to view the eclipse.
They cut cereal boxes and foil. The boxes will be used to project the eclipse while looking away from the sun.
The Baxter Springs School District bought 12-hundred solar eclipse glasses, but received an e-mail from Amazon saying the proper safety documentation behind those glasses couldn't be verified.
"Spent the day trying to find an alternative source," says Superintendent David Pendergraft. "Obviously, 12 hundred was going to be, I figured, probably a little too high of an expectation to try and find at this point. I couldn't find any."
Fifth grader Chloe Turley says, "My parents were talking about it. I'm like, 'What are you guys talking about?' They were like, 'The Solar eclipse! It's happening next Monday!'."
Students say they enjoyed making the "plan B" boxes, but also understand the need for them.
"Because it (solar eclipse) can blind you, partially, if you're not careful," says fifth grader Lucius Jones.
Fifth grader Noah Newman says, "Now, you see, if you look at it directly with your eyes, you could get blind and it could hurt your eyes. And I was born and I had perfect eyesight. I don't want to ruin it!"
Pendergraft says he wants the students to safely take part in Monday's memorable event.
"I do remember doing a project; I do remember looking at a reflection through the viewing boxes. So, if I can remember it, it obviously stood out in my mind. It was interesting. So hopefully this will be a positive experience for our kids on Monday," says Pendergraft.
Fifth grader Newman knows the eclipse is rare.
"Yeah! And usually, rare stuff is probably not going to happen again until a few years!"
Amazon is refunding the cost of the solar glasses to the Baxter Springs School District. Teachers say they'll ensure students do not look directly at the solar eclipse.
Statement from Amazon to Baxter Springs School District:
"We’re writing to provide you with important safety information about the eclipse products you purchased on Amazon.
To protect your eyes when viewing the sun or an eclipse, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) advise you to use solar eclipse glasses or other solar filters from recommended manufacturers. Viewing the sun or an eclipse using any other glasses or filters could result in loss of vision or permanent blindness.
Amazon has not received confirmation from the supplier of your order that they sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer. We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse.
Amazon is applying a balance for the purchase price to Your Account (please allow 7-10 days for this to appear on Your Account). There is no need for you to return the product. You can view your available balance and activity here:
For more information about safely viewing a solar eclipse please see the NASA and AAS websites.
If you purchased this item for someone else, please pass along this information to the recipient.
We hope to see you again soon.
Statement from Amazon to KOAM-TV/KFJX-TV:
"Out of an abundance of caution and in the interests of our customers, we asked third-party sellers that were offering solar eclipse glasses to provide documentation to verify their products were compliant with relevant safety standards. The offers from sellers who provided this safety documentation remain available to customers. The listings from sellers who did not provide the appropriate documentation have been removed and customers who purchased from them were notified last week. Customers can contact Amazon customer service with any questions or concerns."
Amazon would not detail how many of their orders were impacted by this safety concern.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas