By Mitchell Clarke
Students at Officer Specialist School are set to be protected from the sun after receiving a State Government grant of $25,000.
More than 75 schools across the state will share in almost $1 million from the School Shade Grants program which will allow schools to build new shade, repair existing shade or create natural shade.
Officer Specialist School will use the funds to create new shade areas in their junior and senior school play areas.
Assistant principal Kylie Scott said parents were excited that their kids will be able to enjoy the playground all year round.
“It was a perfect opportunity to apply for the grants because our students need cover as they have a lot of trouble regulating their body temperature,” Ms Scott said.
“At the moment we don’t have anything, so we’re really excited to get some shade sails happening.
It’s understood the project will make a “huge difference” for all students, with summer proving quite a challenge at the school.
“During the hot days we have to be mindful and often we’ve had to keep students inside,” Ms Scott said.
“It’s difficult because all they want is to be outside but being a sun smart school, it’s our responsibility to keep them indoors and safe.”
In 2017, melanoma was the fourth-most common cancer in Victoria, with 2993 invasive melanomas diagnosed resulting in 270 deaths.
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said proper shade and sun protection measures like sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing can help reduce UV radiation exposure by up to 75 percent.
“Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer in Australia,” Ms Crugnale said.
“Bass students love spending time outdoors, particularly as the weather starts to warm up. That’s why we’re taking action so that kids can benefit from more shade and protection from the sun.
“It’s important we give Victorian’s the protection they need to stay sun smart.”
But the project, which was also funded by the parents and friends association through fundraisers, won’t be finished in time for summer, with the school hopeful it’ll be completed by the middle of 2020.