Several parts of the Lone Star State have been dubbed ideal viewing locations for a rare total solar eclipse, spurring potential transportation issues that have led the leaders of one local school district to opt to cancel classes.

Ennis Independent School District (EISD) has decided to close its schools on Monday, April 8, in anticipation of heavy traffic as visitors — potentially as many as 200,000 — descend on the city to view the once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

EISD officials made the announcement recently, noting that the decision was made after careful deliberation with district staff as well as city officials.

“We anticipate a number of EISD staff members will choose to take off and many parents will elect to not send their children to school on that day in order to share the experience and activities with their families,” the statement reads.

“Also, with the large number of visitors throughout the community, traffic issues around town will hinder afternoon student transportation. While we understand this may be an inconvenience, we feel this is the best decision and hope communicating this decision well in advance will assist in planning.”

Ennis is expected to have one of the longest durations of the total solar eclipse, clocking 4 minutes and 23 seconds. By comparison, Dallas, which is roughly 40 miles to the north, will have totality for 3 minutes and 49 seconds.

As a result, Ennis and local businesses have rolled out an array of activities and amenities ahead of the eclipse, including a Downtown Ennis Watch Party, an eclipse and wine event at Sugar Ridge Winery, and a pop-up campsite venue called Camp Cosmic.

It remains to be seen whether other North Texas school districts will decide to close campuses on April 8.

Due to Dallas ISD having a sprawling STEM Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Seagoville, field trips will likely be planned for students to view the eclipse there. Mark Broughton, director of the EEC, already sought and won a Junior League of Dallas Grant for Innovative Teaching that will supply 2,000 pairs of eclipse glasses for students to safely view the celestial event.

“It’s an incredible opportunity because a solar eclipse will not happen in Dallas in their lifetime again,” Broughton explained in a news release. “If they were to see another one, they would possibly have to travel to another country to view it, so this will be it for some of the students. I wanted to do what I could to give them what they need to safely view that eclipse.”

As of January 29, the EEC was fully booked for field trips all the way through May 23.

For information on other sky-gazing events on the horizon in 2024, check out the list compiled by The Dallas Express here.