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National Association of State Boards of Education’s Fit, Healthy and Ready to Learn: School Health Policy Guide addresses several important school health policy changes schools can make. In the supplementary chapter, Part II: Policies to Promote Sun Safety and Prevent Skin Cancer, an extensive sample sun safety policy is outlined and discussed. The sample policies are available here and on the NASBE website, while the document that discusses these policies must be ordered.

When creating a policy, NASBE recommends the consideration and inclusion of five main elements:

  1. Purpose and goals: Include a strong statement of purpose to explain the initiative to the public, and to communicate your priorities.
  2. Sun safety education: Taught by adequately prepared teachers, education should be active, positive, engaging, and appropriate to ages, concerns and behaviors of the students. It can be integrated with the school’s coordinated school health program.
  3. Outdoor activities and the school environment: Address sun protective measures for outdoor activities such as recess, lunch, sports and band practice, and field trips. Also consider creating more shade on school grounds with trees or shade structures and scheduling outdoor time when UV rays are less intense.
  4. Sun safety for staff: School staff act as good sun safety role models to students so they should learn sun safe habits and help teach them to students. Learning about sun safety will also keep staff protected from the effects of UV exposure such as premature aging, wrinkles, skin cancer and cataracts. In addition, school nurses can counsel students about good sun protection measures.
  5. Family and community involvement: School health programs must involve parent participation if they are to be successful. Parents encourage the healthy behavior in their children and help them adopt sun safe habits.

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Promoting Sun Safety in California Elementary Schools.

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