During term 3 students will be learning about the risks and benefits associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV radiation). In New Zealand the peak summer ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation) levels are 40% higher compared with corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere (eg. Southern Europe, mid USA). Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancers are the most common cancers in New Zealand, and there is evidence they are increasing in incidence. With these sobering facts we feel it is important that our students are both protected and well informed about this danger. The threat is made more difficult because UV radiation is invisible and the impact on a person’s health relatively slow to manifest.
We are working within guidelines recommended by the SunSmart Schools Accreditation Programme which is run by the Cancer Society of New Zealand and our intention is to become an accredited school which has developed and implemented a sun protection policy for Terms 1 and 4. The policy must meet minimum criteria that ensure students and teachers are protected in a sun-safe environment.
I wish to signal that we have started working with staff and students, and Mission Heights Primary School. The Board of Trustees supports this important initiative as one of its responsibilities to maintain and promote a culture of health and safety. Some progress has been made already:
- Students have given feedback about the hats or caps they would like to wear which will be available at John Russell the official uniform stockist. It must be noted that while caps are not ideal they are a step in the right direction and students will be required to wear either caps or hats in term 1 or 4 during any outdoor activity starting in term 4 this year;
- Sunblock stations have been placed in whanau for students to use if they do not bring their own to school;
- The provision of shade is being included in the school’s long term property plan.
I trust that the conversation about sun safety is reinforced at home and thank our community in advance for their support. The following web site can give you more information:
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!