Salem-Keizer schools closing access to properties during solar eclipse


Salem-Keizer schools closing access to properties during solar eclipse

Published 5:18 p.m. PT Aug. 11, 2017

All Salem-Keizer School District facilities will be closed to the public for the weekend of the solar eclipse through Aug. 21.

Closures include all 65 of the district’s schools. Campuses will be closed to the public from 5 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22.

District officials said they are closing the properties due to safety concerns.

“The district can’t support (the) use of campuses at a time when emergency services may not be able to respond quickly if needed,” said Karma Krause, a spokeswoman for the district.

The exceptionally large number of visitors expected to travel to Salem and Keizer could create severe traffic problems, district officials said.

Local authorities anticipate delays in responding to emergency needs and will be prioritizing responses based upon available resources. This could mean limited, delayed or possibly no support for emergencies.

Another concern is keeping facilities in good shape for the start of the school year in early September.

“Any additional clean-up work to be done following the eclipse would make it harder to have facilities ready for the start of the school year,” Krause said. “The district would really appreciate it if visitors could find a place to camp besides these kinds of spaces.”

Salem-Keizer will have staff and security on site to enforce the closures.

Some school grounds share boundaries with City of Salem property. Eclipse watchers will be able to camp in city parks. Salem-Keizer will put up signs and have staff on hand to direct visitors away from district property.

Normal school rentals have been canceled or rescheduled during this time period, officials said. A few exceptions for use have been granted to some high schools for required programs on Saturday, Aug. 19 only.

Officials said the exceptions were granted through a “stringent and early application process,” and no additional exceptions to district facility use during the closure period will be granted.

Contact Natalie Pate at, 503-399-6745 or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at


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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit, like her on Facebook at, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at

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