The St. Louis Eclipse Task Force say it’s not too late for local school districts to apply for free solar glasses for their students.

photo courtesy of NASA

Task force officials say they’re on track to distribute more than 160,000 glasses to Pre-K to 12 students for use during the Aug. 21 total eclipse that will include most of the St. Louis area and beyond. Individual and corporate donors are making the Social Glasses for Kids program possible, including a recent donation of 50,000 glasses from Mastercard for distribution to students and administrators in low-income or under-represented areas.

Today, the task force is distributing tens of thousands of ISO-certified eclipse glasses to teachers and other school administrators at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in Forest Park. The school representatives are also getting instructions on how students can safely view the eclipse.

NASA officials warn it is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays, even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse, experts at NASA advise wearing eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun. This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.

During the period of totality—when the moon completely covers the sun—it is safe to look directly at the star, but it’s crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses, according to NASA.

There are plenty of solar glasses still available for local schools, but the task force is urging administrators to turn in their applications now. Applications must be made by an authorized school representative of a public, private or parochial pre-K to 12 school in the Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, City of St. Louis, St. Louis or Warren; or in the Illinois counties of Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe or St. Clair. Qualifying schools must apply online at

Another distribution event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 15, less than one week before the eclipse. Check for location and details.

More safety tips from NASA: