Skip to main content Skip to sitemap
Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
two kids turning cartwheels outside

Sun Safety and UV in Schools

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada and is highly preventable. Childhood exposure to UV Radiation (UVR) contributes to the development of skin cancer in later life. Children potentially have a greater risk to sun exposure compared to adults, since children have thinner and more sensitive skin. Children’s eyes also have a lower capability to filter UV radiation.

Schools can play a major role in minimizing student exposure to UVR (the highest risk is between 11 am and 3 pm) and in both establishing and maintaining sun safety habits for a lifetime.

Using the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School framework, schools, school boards, parents and community partners can work together to develop healthy school environments that promote and support student well-being. Information below has been organized following this framework.

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Sun Safe Play Every Day (Grades JK – 3)

A four-minute, sing-along video created by the Canadian Dermatology Association about a young boy and his dog talking about the sun, and the many ways we can play safely in the sun.

SunSense Teaching Guides (Grades 1-6)

The SunSense program by the Canadian Cancer Society offers a full certification program for schools to create sun safe environments. Individual program resources such as parent letters, fact sheets and teaching guides are available to download.

Dear 16-Year-old Me (Grades 9 – 11)

This short five-minute video created by David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, highlights the dangers of melanoma for young people. Previewing is recommended.

Sun Safety for Sun and Indoor Tanning Handout (Grades 9 – 12)

Tanning beds are another significant source of UVR. Using a tanning bed before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) by 59 percent. The fact sheet linked above can help inform youth of the risk of using tanning beds.

School and Classroom Leadership

Sun Safety Policy Guidelines

This resource takes you through the step-by-step process of developing and implementing a SunSense policy for your school.

Student Engagement

National Sun Awareness Week (May)

The link above can support students in planning a school wide campaign to celebrate National Sun Awareness Week.

Social and Physical Environments

SunSense – Shade Planning Guide

The guide linked above provides information about how to complete a shade audit and plan for shade on your school grounds. An effective sun safety school culture provides the opportunity for staff and students to enjoy the many benefits of outdoor play and physical activity while offering protection from UVR.

Home, School and Community Partnerships

Share information and resources with parents from the following websites:

News, Research and Reports RELATED TO: Educators, Injury Prevention

Interested in receiving monthly updates about HPEPH programs and services?

Sign up for our e-newsletter

Province of Ontario has Declared a Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives.  Read more.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the provincial government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

Owner/operators of a businesses, workplaces and/or other community organizations who are unsure of how to adjust operations for COVID-19 are encouraged to visit sector specific guidance regarding provincial lockdown measures at or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. If you are unable to find an answer to your questions or need further guidance, please fill out this web form.

During the provincewide shutdown, no indoor social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 5 individuals, and proper physical distancing must be maintained.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.