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School Staff Action Steps on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi

May 1, 2020

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Worldwide teachers and school staff are taking action to ensure their workplace is safe and the students they love are healthy.

The issue of cell phones and Wi-Fi in school is an occupational health issue. Teachers who are pregnant or who have pre-existing medical conditions are more vulnerable to environmental radio frequency exposures. Teachers who are injured by these exposures are in need of accommodations. 

 

Pass a Resolution for Safer Technology

Union resolutions that address both digital devices in schools, the communication networks in the building, and educating students and staff are key to addressing the various aspects of this issue. 

  • See a list of resolutions and position statements by teacher and school staff unions here.
  • See key elements of union resolutions here.  

 

Educate Members

Most people are unaware of this information and the credible science behind it until a friend, colleague, or association shares the resources. 

Host Conference Presentations and Webinars

An interactive webinar raises awareness and provides a forum for conversation. See webinar examples such as the United Educators of San Francisco and the New York State Teachers Union. The United Federation of Teachers brought in EHT’s Theodora Scarato to present at their national conference and all her materials are online at Share My Lesson. 

 

Protect Pregnant Staff

Pregnancy is a time of unique vulnerability. We recommend the EPA recognized BabySafe Project materials such as “Reduce Your Wireless Exposure” (English, Spanish.) The United Federation of Teachers shares these resources on their website for staff. 

 

Develop a Position Statement 

The Canadian Teacher Federation briefed the Royal Society of Canada and  issued a briefing document, “The Use of Wi-Fi in Schools ” recommending an education program to educate the public regarding ways to avoid potential exposure risks of Wi-Fi access points and devices.” The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association also released a Position Statement

 

Develop a Set of Best Practices for Schools

A review, “What makes smart and healthy buildings”  published in a building journal recommends reducing wireless in buildings by installing corded internet networks instead of wireless. The New York State Teachers Union has issued “Best Practices For Schools’‘ and the Collaborative For high-Performance Schools also details the needed steps for schools.   

 

Ensure Support For Teachers Needing Accommodations 

Teachers are accommodated in several districts. For example, a teacher in the Los Angeles School District was accommodated by being able to move to a classroom without Wi-Fi after suffering cardiac issues. The BC Teachers Federation adopted wireless resolutions including the text, “The BCTF supports members who are suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity by ensuring their medical needs are accommodated in the workplace.”

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