SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–School is starting in less than two weeks for Missouri State University students, but there could be a lot of empty classrooms. 

August 21st is when class is scheduled to resume for MSU students; it’s also the day of the solar eclipse. 

For that reason, students have started a petition requesting the university to excuse them from class without consequence to view the solar eclipse.

A chance to see a solar eclipse could be the culprit for empty desks at Missouri State University. 

“It’s something that you don’t really get to see often. Why should we have to be in class when that’s happening,” says MSU student, Jonathan Larsen. 

 “I’m going to be driving to Jefferson City. There I will get 100% of the sun blocking,” says MSU student, Kyle Finter. 

Whereas in Springfield, you will only be able to see 96% of the solar eclipse. MSU’s Dr. Tammy Jahnke explains why the 4% difference matters.

“When the moon fully covers it, you’re able to see the atmosphere of the sun and it looks really wavy. You might even be able to see some stars because it gets that dark. Here we’re still going to see just a sliver of the sun,” says Dr. Jahnke. 

 “Depending on when my classes are, I might skip it and go watch it,” says MSU student, Darryl Burkes. 

Rather than risk being counted absent, a petition was started requesting for students to be excused from class on that day.

The online petition was started on Monday by MSU student Craig Biernbaum and already about 3,200 students have signed it on Change.org

“We’re having an event right here on campus so that many of those students if they want to experience the eclipse, their going to be able to for free in our stadium,” says Dr. Jahnke. 

“The main draw for this petition is to be able to go to the sight of where it’s actually happening in Missouri, the totality, which is too far away from Springfield,” says Finter. 

“I personally plan to go to class, but I understand that some people may want to skip class to see the eclipse,” says MSU student, Jack Vaughan. 

The university says that classes won’t be pushed to August 22nd nor will students be excused from classes.  

They say there’s only one university in the state that’s cancelling classes on the day of the solar eclipse and that’s Southeast Missouri State.