WiFi in Schools
The GVTA recommends a precautionary approach to the School District with regard to provision of wireless internet in schools.
The precautionary approach comes from the environmental movement and has been adopted as common practice in areas regarding potential environmental, ecological or biodiversity damage. It suggests that the lack of significant evidence is not enough of a reason to be unconcerned. The fact that many other countries have instituted regulations to protect children, seniors, pregnant women and other susceptible populations should be the guide for a District policy on WiFi installation and use in the worksites.
The GVTA recommends:
- The blanket approach to WiFi coverage needs to be amended.
- WiFi free schools should be available for those people who appear to be affected by EMRs and/or EMF.
- Staff approaching the Health and Safety Representative with concerns or reporting to be 'electrically hypersensitive' should be advised to:
- keep a record of any adverse health effects they consider to be caused by exposure to WiFi/WLAN at work; and
- report any adverse health effects and concerns to their GP.
- The use of router stations that will shut down when not in use or no connection is established.
- Strategic placement of the routers or only using them in places where they are needed most.
- Use of routers that comply with international standards such as those used in Europe (Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland for example).
- Minimal or non-use within elementary schools and middle schools.
- Before any wireless networks can be set up within a worksite, a complete wireless survey needs to be conducted, so the issue is transparent and open.
- Consider developing a policy and regulations governing the use of cell phones and other such devices that utilize WiFi technology, similar to the policy developed by the National Association of Head Teachers in the UK. (Online Safety: a toolkit for early years settings. April 2010. Chpt. 5, Appendices 2)
- If WiFi routers are installed that annual monitoring and quantification of EMRs and EMFs be conducted annually during regular instructional hours, and that reports are made available via the SD61 website.