Teenage students sitting outdoors

For a Healthier Campus: Strategies for Promoting Sun Protection in Schools

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Although everyone is at risk of health problems, students are the most vulnerable. For one, since they are young, they have thinner and more sensitive skin. Spending a short time outdoors during PE class might be enough to develop severe burns. In addition, children spend not just a short time outdoors. They love playing outside, utterly unaware of the dangers of being out there under the sun. Your students who have a history of frequent sun exposure and sunburns have a higher risk of developing melanoma, a type of skin cancer. However, discouraging playtime or physical activities is not the solution. The key is to promote safety. Here are strategies to ensure better protection for your pupils:

Empower Your Students with Information

The first step to sun safety is letting the student body know its importance. Without proper information, pupils will disregard the policies or programs that you want to introduce. Therefore, make it a priority to talk about sun safety in different settings. Integrate this in your lessons in classrooms. Hold forums and seminars about it. Invite skin cancer survivors or their families. Create infographics or videos and post them on your school’s social media page. The bottom line is that you have to raise awareness about sun safety so that children will become advocates themselves and make better health decisions.

Create Safe Environments

Father dropping her kid to schoolIt is not enough to inform your students about protection. Your facilities should reflect the kind of security that you are promoting. Look at your school amenities and see how you can improve them. For instance, in classrooms, consider adding window tints. These can help block 99% of UV rays. For spaces outside classrooms, add outdoor shelters. Between buildings, install covered walkways for schools. It will also be good to have indoor football fields or basketball gyms so that you can hold PE classes any time of the day. Your goal is to create a campus environment that can limit sun exposure for students.

Enforce Policies

It is good to encourage children to cover themselves with protective clothing and sunscreen. Still, it is better to have a policy in place to make students commit to the sun safety habit. Draft a plan, outlining the responsibilities of students, like knowing how to use sunscreen and protective wear, as well as the duties of teachers in reminding pupils to do such things. Perhaps you might want to rethink the design and policy of your school uniforms, especially those used in PE classes. Invest in breathable clothes that provide more coverage for the skin. Some schools impose the use of sunscreen at specific times of the day, like every three hours or before going outdoors for PE classes. Others have sunscreen stations at critical areas of the campus, reminding students to reapply protection. You can introduce the same programs in your school. Include them in your student handbook.

In the end, you should remember that sun safety is crucial for students. You have the responsibility of creating an environment that not only encourages learning but good health as well. Keep your students free from the risks of UV damage with these strategies.

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