Sun protection strategy for schools
Year-round sun protection is important for children in Queensland, as the UV Index is typically at damaging levels even during winter. Children are particularly vulnerable to skin damage caused by exposure to the sun’s UVR, due to their underdeveloped skin and involvement in outdoor activities. Research demonstrates that high UVR exposure in childhood and adolescence significantly increases your risk of developing melanoma. Reducing sun exposure in childhood and adolescence is the most effective way of reducing the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. School settings provide an ideal sun protection opportunity for children, through the implementation and monitoring of a comprehensive sun protection approach which includes provisions for shade.
The school environment is an excellent opportunity to model positive sun-safe behaviour and encourage good practices for life. Creating effective shade should be considered as one strategy within a comprehensive school-based sun safety approach.
An effective sun protection strategy will cover the whole range of sun protection issues for your school community, by outlining the school’s commitment to sun safety and the responsibilities of teachers, parents and families, and students.
The purpose of a strategy is to provide a framework for the school’s action, from which a timeline and action plan can be developed for areas which need addressing, such as improving the school uniform or seeking grants for better shade. It also provides documented evidence of the school or centre’s commitment to health and safety, which can be provided to families and in the prospectus for future enrolments.
All Queensland schools should have a comprehensive sun protection strategy which outlines the commitment to ensuring the whole school community can be protected from the sun.
This can include:
- curriculum education and information for teachers, parents, carers and community members
- rescheduling outdoor activities to avoid the middle of the day when possible
- supportive environmental strategies such as shade in the playground, providing portable shade when needed or when holding a special event or excursion
- a sun safe school uniform which includes hats.
These resources can assist with policy development, including templates to adapt for your centre;