Sun damage is more dangerous for children than for adults. In fact, UV exposure during childhood years is the most hazardous, which may result in cancer-causing skin damage and ageing. That is why sun safety should be a priority not just by parents, but by educational institutions as well.
Children spend most of their time in schools, so it makes sense to take proactive measures and enforce policies that will keep the students safe from harmful UV rays.
Improve the school’s environment
It is important to provide shades in outdoor areas. Plant trees and build shaded areas, such as awnings in sports field benches and canopies in outdoor lunch areas. Covered walkways for schools are likewise important, as these will provide much-needed shade when students are walking from one building to another.
Do not neglect sun protection for indoor areas as well. Remember that the sun’s UV rays can pass through windows of classrooms. It is ideal to have those windows tinted or at least covered with blinds or shades.
Educate the children
Safety starts with proper education. When students understand the rationale behind slathering sunscreens or wearing hats when going to school, they can follow through such behaviours. Teachers must dedicate a fraction of their class time to bringing awareness on the harmful effects of UV rays. You can likewise integrate this into your lessons.
Education should not stop in the classrooms, though. When you have school assemblies, reiterate sun safety. Create promotional materials in the form of posters, newsletters and social media posts.
Despite the serious health effects of UV exposure, some schools still do not have sun safety policies. As administrators, you have the power to enforce these policies. It can be as simple as requiring students to wear PE uniforms, which will reduce sun exposure, or asking students to re-apply sunscreen during a specific time of day. Such small efforts can make a big difference in ensuring student’s safety and health.
Sun safety should be one of the priorities of schools. Protect your students from the harmful effects of UV exposure, so they can stay healthy and focus on their studies.