Due to sunscreen’s current status as a medication, students cannot apply sunscreen at school without a doctor’s note
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, January 9th, Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, introduced the “School Sunscreen Safety Amendment Act” to permit student use of sunscreen at DCPS and District charter schools. The District currently recognizes sunscreen as a medication, and District law states that students may only use medication while at school or school-sponsored activities if their parent or guardian has submitted a valid medication action plan to the school. Medication action plans must be signed by a licensed health practitioner and include detailed information about the medication’s intended effect, dosage, and any potential side effects.
“Students should not be required to provide a doctor’s note in order to use their own parent-provided sunscreen at school. Due to the classification of sunscreen as a “medication” and the requirement that a parent provide a medication action plan to allow the use of sunscreen, the majority of District children have been needlessly exposed to the sun during recess, gym class, field trips, and at after school sports clubs. The long-term dangers of unprotected sun exposure are preventable, and it’s important that the District update its administration policies to better protect children from exposure to UV radiation and sunburn,” said Councilmember Cheh.
The “School Sunscreen Safety Act” will narrow the definition of a medication to exclude sunscreen, it will explicitly clarify that students may possess and administer sunscreen without a medication action plan.