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Sunshade is cool addition to Marvin Elementary

Tracey Burgess’ second-grade class enjoys a quick photo under the shade, thanks to a large sunshade grant facilitated by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.

Excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays should be avoided, especially in young children.

UV rays are the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, the peak hours for recess at most elementary schools. Thanks to an $8,000 grant, Marvin Elementary students have the ability to limit the sun’s exposure with the help of a large sunshade on the school’s playground.

“It’s the size of a classroom so we can use it for classroom instruction if we like or we can use it to keep cool when students are outside on the playground,” said Marvin Elementary principal Lynn Cole. “We worked so hard to get it done. I’m really happy with it.”

It all began three and a half years ago when Christa Haller, who at the time was the president of Marvin Elementary’s Parent Teacher Organization’s (PTO), heard about a sunshade grant offered through the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Several parents at the school volunteered to help Haller pursue the grant.

Local dermatologist, Dr. Marc Darst, also got involved in the project by sponsoring the PTO and the PTO sunshade committee.

Part of the grant process included monthly sun awareness activities at the school, which were spearheaded by the school’s physical education teacher, Ian McTamney.

It took about a year of preparation and work, but finally the PTO was able to apply for the grant money and won.

Principal Cole said the sunshade has been an asset for the school. “It extends the playground, because it’s off to the side and we weren’t using that part of the playground as much; but now we can,” she said. “My PTO is so wonderful.”

To coincide with the project, the school’s fifth-grade class gave the school picnic tables as its class gift. These will be placed under the sunshade. “It will be a nice area for everyone,” Cole said.

According to the American Cancer Society, anyone uncertain as to how strong the sun’s rays are can simply use the shadow test. Look at your shadow. If it’s shorter than you are, the sun’s rays are the strongest, and it’s important to use skin protection such as suntan lotion or cover your skin with clothing. 

Written by: Deb Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Sep 08, 2015 by Deb Bledsoe

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