10 August 2017
Despite a wet and cold July, South Australian schools are being reminded to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide from the beginning of term 3.
From the beginning of August in South Australia UV levels will be on the rise, placing staff and students at risk of skin damage.
Cancer Council SA’s Manager for Cancer Education and Information, Ms Joanne Rayner, says it is a timely reminder for schools to get back into the swing of sun protection.
“Temperature and UV levels are not related,” said Ms Rayner.
“Even though it is cold in August we will receive UV radiation at levels well above 3 from now until the end of April.
“We strongly recommend that primary and secondary schools across the state have their sun protection policies in place from the beginning of term 3.”
Over 2,000 Australians die of skin cancer every year and many people are unaware that skin damage due to UV exposure occurs even when the weather is overcast and cool.
Ms Rayner says that skin cancer accounts for 80 per cent of all new cancers diagnosed in Australia each year.
“Everyone wants a cancer-free future and the reality is that sun protection is one of the easiest ways to prevent cancer in your community.
“So it’s time to put hats back on at school, which will help protect our children and teachers.”
Principal of Gilles Street Primary School, Ms Gyllian Godfrey says the school community was reticent at first to embrace the policy changes, but hats on in August rather than September just makes sense.
“We did some research from the Bureau of Meteorology UV records and unexpectedly discovered that there were more days in August where the UV level peaked at 3 or higher than not,” she said.
“By enforcing the no hat-no play policy in term three, we are providing a safe learning, working and play environment for everyone.
“It also means that we are getting the most up-to-date information on the effects of UV and how to best protect our skin with practical resources that make engaging with the skin protection message enjoyable.”
The SunSmart Team at Cancer Council SA are able to provide schools with template sun protection policies, professional learning, and curriculum and information resources.
The South Australian Department for Education and Child Development have an ‘Inclement Weather & Sun Protection Procedure’ which requires all public early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools to establish a local sun protection policy during terms 1, 3 and 4 and at other times of the year when the UV is 3 and above.
Contact the SunSmart Team for free assistance and resources on 08 8291 4265, via firstname.lastname@example.org or join the national SunSmart Program at www.sunsmart.org.au