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Mount Tarcoola Primary School in Geraldton is now the most SunSmart school in the Mid West after recently installing a meter that monitors ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

The meter shows the current UV reading on a large, easy-to-read display which is clearly visible to school staff, students and visitors.

Principal Paul Luxton said the school was very excited about the UV meter and committed to ensuring students recognise the need to seek shade and form good SunSmart habits for the future.

“We have been a SunSmart school for a considerable time, and we also have a No Hat Play in the Shade policy,” Mr Luxton said.

“Every day our Year 6 councillors read the UV index forecast over the PA to the whole school but now with our new UV meter, we can communicate live data which is very exciting.

“The UV meter also provides a visual reminder about the current UV level.  Having the visual prompt of the UV meter has taught the students that it’s not the heat that determines danger, but the UV, and hopefully that will create a lifelong awareness and a change in their attitudes.”

Cancer Council WA Mid West Regional Education Officer, Aiden McDowell, said the installation of the meter on the school’s campus was a positive step towards reducing skin cancer in the community.

“Skin cancers (including melanoma) accounts for the largest number of cancers diagnosed in Australia each year,” Mr McDowell said.

“Our latest data reveals that in 2019, close to 1600 people in WA were diagnosed with melanoma and sadly 145 people died from it.

“In the Mid-West region in 2019, 54 people were diagnosed with melanoma and three died from it.

“It has been shown that reducing lifetime UV radiation goes a long way to reducing the risk of skin cancer, so we congratulate Mount Tarcoola Primary School on their proactive approach towards reducing skin cancer in the community.”

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