Monday, August 8, 2011

Greater Victoria Wi-Fi Update

Wi-Fi Position Statement by The Greater Victoria Teachers Association (GVTA)

Precautionary Approach to Wi-Fi Use in GVSD 61

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 Wi-Fi installation and use in the

The GVTA suggests:

1. The blanket approach to Wi-Fi coverage needs to be amended.
2. Wi-Fi free zones should be available in schools for those people who appear to be affected by EMRs and/or EMF.

3. 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 Wi-Fi/WLAN at work; and
report any adverse health effects and concerns to their GP.

4. The use of router stations that will shut down when not in use or no connection is established.

5. Strategic placement of the routers or only using them in places where they are needed most.

6. Use of routers that comply with international standards such as those used in Europe (Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland for example).

7. Minimal or non-use within elementary 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 Wi-Fi 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)

Letter by The Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils

Re: Non-Ionizing Radiation in Schools

We have reviewed the information and recommendation published by the District WiFi committee. Not only do we find that the results of the committee’s work are inconclusive but we also believe that the issue to be addressed is larger than WiFi and includes all devices that emit non-ionizing radiation.

VCPAC will continue, starting with the research conducted by the District WiFi committee, and use our standard process for taking a formal position. This may include further research, presentation panels, fact sheets for our members, analysis, surveys, dialogue and debate.

One of VCPAC’s stated purposes is “to advocate for the rights and support the success of every student”. Some students have self-identified as being impacted adversely by non-ionizing radiation. We request that the Board ensures that their individual needs are addressed.

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