• 61°
franklin county times

State permits sunscreen in schools

Sending children back to school for their fall semester might bring to mind the cooler weather of autumn, but in the Deep South, the hot summer sun will still blaze for a couple more months. Schoolchildren can now more easily protect themselves from sun overexposure with a new state law permitting sunscreen use.

A new law (Act 2017-278) allows Alabama school students to apply personal sunscreen at school without the need for special permission from a doctor or parent. The law includes both public and private schools and went into effect earlier this summer.

Russellville City Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes said he supports the bill – although prior to its passage, RCS “used common sense” when it came to sunscreen use anyway.

“It just allows parents to send sunscreen with their students, of which we’re appreciative,” Grimes said. “We don’t feel there’s a need to control sunscreen anyway, so this is a relief for us.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, application of sunscreen while outdoors is a simple step to protect oneself from the harm of overexposure to sunlight’s UVA and UVB rays. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher should be applied at least every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

And although much of the school day is set indoors, children are also often exposed to the sun during school hours, whether that’s for recess, a lesson in an outdoor classroom setting or for PE/after-school athletics.

“If they’ve ever been to a track meet in the spring, and you tell a kid they can’t have sunscreen – I think that’s a good law (to allow sunscreen),” Franklin County Schools Superintendent Greg Hamilton said. “I coached for a long time, and the kids would just get burned up. I think this is a good thing.”

Hamilton said in his mind, there was never any reason for restrictions against sunscreen being brought to school and used during the school day, and he suspects that rule was not always followed.

Dr. Tom Miller, state health officer at the Alabama Department of Public Health, said the new permissions should be a step toward preventing melanoma and other skin cancers.

“We know that sunburn, particularly in childhood, increases your risk for skin cancer,” he said. “Applying sunscreen before outside school activities will prevent overexposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, thus preventing many forms of skin cancer – including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”

Previously, students were unable to use sunscreen unless prescribed by a physician. With the passage of this law, no rules of the State Board of Education or the Alabama Board of Nursing will apply to Food and Drug Administration-approved over-the-counter sunscreen.

Alabama is among a growing number of states – like Arizona, California, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington State – that lawfully permit students’ use of sunscreen at school.

For more information about sun safety go to http://www.adph.org/skincancer/ or https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/.

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss Northwest Shoals

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss UNA

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: In memoriam – Monuments honor the fallen of Franklin

High School Sports

RHS senior chosen as Bryant-Jordan Region 8 Scholar winner

High School Sports

Russellville High School ladies soccer team members participate in annual Night to Shine

News

Russellville High School Scholars Bowl team qualifies for state tournament

News

Vina kindergarteners connect with lots of other classes

News

PCHS JAG student places in district conference

Features

Wedding Spotlight: Layne and Frank Edwards

Franklin County

RHS senior competes at state DYW competition

News

Extension, 4-H present free resume workshop

Franklin County

Franklin County has lots to love

High School Sports

Russellville High School honors alum Luther Tiggs with special night of basketball

News

BTCPA announces second production of season

News

RMS holds annual state assessment celebration

Franklin County

Red Bay welcomes new city attorney

Franklin County

Attempted traffic stop leads to high-speed vehicle pursuit, wreck 

Franklin County

Vehicle pursuit ends in wreck, arrest 

News

RFD, RHS collab promotes job readiness, community safety

Franklin County

Local students named to Mississippi State University’s fall 2023 President’s List

News

Russellville Elementary features among U.S. News & World Report best elementary schools

News

RCS receives recognition as finalist for national award

News

Plans get underway to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Bedfords

Franklin County

PHOTOS: Freezing temperatures make way for fun

x