Schools Worldwide Removing the Wi-Fi and Reducing Exposure
Environmental Health Trust
This page hosts a running list of INDIVIDUAL schools that have removed Wi-Fi or reduced Wi-Fi radiation. The information is divided into country/state government action on public schools first and then a list of private schools. Scroll down for the list.
Please note that the countries of Cyprus, France, Belgium and Israel are among the countries that have banned Wi-Fi in classrooms for young children and/or taken major measures to reduce radiation exposure.
In 2017, the Maryland State Children’s Environmental Health And Protection Advisory Council issued first ever Recommendations for Wired Internet In Schools and Minimizing RF Classrooms:
- The Maryland State Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council (CEHPAC) issued a Report advising the Department of Education to recommend local school districts reduce classroom wireless radiation exposures by providing wired—rather than wireless—internet connections.
Introductory information for teachers and decision makers includes:
Upper Sturt Primary School WiFi and Cell Phone Policy: A great example of policy independant schools can practically implement.
Collaborative for High Performing Schools Low EMF Criteria/Blueprint For Schools: This criteria gives plans to school on how to reduce and eliminate exposures.
Below is an interview with City of Lakes teachers on how they removed the Wi-Fi from the classrooms due to health concerns.
Public School Policy
Note: The schools and school districts listed here are taking steps in the right direction but many of them are not fully protecting students and staff. Safety is assured with fully wired internet and Low EMF practices.
2017/2018 – Montgomery County Maryland
In January 2018, the Chief Technology Officer of Montgomery County Maryland, one of the top School Districts in the country shared information on Digital Device Safety to all staff in a memo. Read the Memo here.
1/12/2018 Memo “Digital Safety At School And At Home”
The MCCPTA Safe Technology Subcommittee would like to share the following recommendations for using technology at school and at home. For Students at School:
- Consider placing Chromebooks/laptops on desks and tables rather than in laps;
- Don’t forget to shut down and log off of Chromebooks/laptops when moving from classroom to classroom;
- Consider turning off cell phones and keeping them in backpacks or lockers off when not in use;
- If necessary, take eye breaks, 1-to 2 minutes in length, approximately every 15 minutes;
- Attend to task! Avoid distractions such as reading email, playing games, or browsing the Internet;
- Engage in face-to-face socialization, especially at free time, lunch, and recess;
- Always use the Internet and devices for educational purposes in accordance with MCPS’s responsible use policies;
- Use resources that do not infringe on another’s copyright or trademark rights.
For Students at Home:
- “Disconnect” at least one hour before bedtime. This includes all forms of media and requires online-based homework to be done well in advance of bedtime;
- Keep electronic devices out of bedrooms for a sounder sleep.
- Encourage students, when appropriate, to customize their device screens using tools such as ScreenShader designed to reduce potential eye strain and fatigue
- Consider providing students with options for good behavior that include physical activity and social interaction rather than “device time”;
- When requested, provide paper alternatives for take-home class work.
- Maryland Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council (CEHPAC):
- New Jersey Education Association (NJEA):
2017 The Montgomery County School Chromebook Policy states that laptops should stay on tables and not on laps.
2017: Worcester Massachusetts, School Committee voted to approve “precautionary options” to be posted on the Worcester District Website
“It is the Administration’s view that existing government regulating agencies should be setting proper exposure levels and offering best practices, such as the EPA and FCC”.
“Based on the guidance from these agencies, the Administration proposes the following:
If you are concerned about radiation or heat from electronic devices, follow these guidelines:
- Consider increasing the distance between electronic devices and your body
- Consider keeping your cellphone, tablet, or laptop in your purse, backpack, or briefcase case instead of keeping it on or close to your body
- If talking on a cellphone, consider using speakerphone or a hands free headset or reduce the number or length of calls
- When not using wireless or Bluetooth, consider shutting off these services on the device or put the device in Airplane mode
- Consider not placing the device directly on your lap. Instead consider placing it on a hard surface such as a desk or bo
Note: This initiative was supported by a local community organization called Worcester Info Team for Health whose Mission Statement was “… to support Worcester decision makers and others in learning about and mitigating the public health risks posed by the rapid roll-out of wireless devices and infrastructure, emphasizing the Precautionary Principle and seeking collaboration on creative solutions.”
News Articles on the Worcester School Committees Actions on Wi-Fi
- “The Education Beat: Cell phones: protecting yourself and your children” Worcester Magazine May 18, 20
- “Worcester school board hesitant but curious about possible WiFi health risk” Telegram.com October 2016
- Monfredo: How Safe are the Electromagnetic Fields Emitted by Wireless Technology? Go Local Worcester, September 3, 2016
- Worcester Schools draft warning on wireless devices, Telegram.com
2016 – Petaluma Public Schools, California USA: Public school district adopts “Digital Device Practices”
- Digital Device Best Practices PDF
- Parents raised the issue of wireless health risks with the district for years and this new policy was put in place in 2016. However- as this policy still does not protect the students health, parents continue to advocate for a safe school environment and signed a petition which can be found at http://responsibleipad.com/petition.html
- The Petaluma 2016 iPad Best Practices state: “Keep it on the Desk: The best place for your iPad to sit during use is on a desk, table or other flat surface.”
- Videos of Parent Testimony to District
- Child Testimony
- Doctors Letters to District
2016 – Onteora School District in New York State Adopts “Best Practices with Wi-Fi
- The bottom of page 4 states: “Best Practices For Wi-Fi: Turn off the device when not in use and at the end of each day. If device is to stay on, turn Wi-Fi off when not in use (switch on side, or airplane mode on iPad). Always place the device on a solid surface Viewing distance should be a minimum of 12 inches from the screen.”
- The top of page 4 and bottom of page 5” Employees to enforce the “Best Practices For Wi-Fi.”April 20,
2016 Meeting Minutes Page 2 (When Best Practices approval discussed at Board meeting )
- “Turn off the device when not in use and at the end of each day. If device is to stay on, turn Wi-Fi off when not in use. Always place device on a solid surface. Viewing distance should be a minimum of 12 inches from the screen. Staff was asked by the Principals to post this in areas that contain computers and devices. They are reminding staff to follow it.”
2015 – Ashland Public Schools, Massachusetts Institutes “Best Practices”
- Ashland was the first US school District to institute “Best Practices” to turn the Wi-Fi off when not in use and keep devices away from the body
- Download powerpoint slides used for teacher/staff training.
- Video of parent who initiated this, Video of school board member discussing the process.
- Magazine article on Ashland’s Decision Here, Newspaper Coverage
- TV Program of parent advocate CeCe Doucette and Keith Marciniak discussing the policy changes.
Los Angeles, California Public Schools (LAUSD) Bans Cell towers on school property and recommends Cautionary RFR Exposure Levels (10,000 lower than FCC limits but not biologically protective.)
- The LA School District Uses a RF-EMF Exposure Threshold 10,000 Less Than the FCC Limits. Read the RADIOFREQUENCY (RF) EVALUATION REPORT LAUSD Use of Wireless Devices in Educational Settings. The threshold of the LAUSD is still not protective of human health. We also understand that the LAUSD averages radio frequency measurements which minimizes the peak radiation exposures. Thus, LAUSD RFR radiation reports with averaged measurements are not adequate to understand the exposure and human health impacts in the classroom. Please see our note below.
- Los Angeles Unified School board wrote a resolution banning cell towers from schools and recommending against WiFi Read the 2009 adopted resolution and the 2009 Resolution Condemning Cell towers NEAR Schools as was this T-Mobile Cell Tower across the street from an elementary school.
- 2000 LA School Board Resolution Opposing Cell Tower Placement on Schools — Calls for precautions with wireless. ‘Whereas, Recent studies suggest there is evidence that radio-frequency radiation may produce “health effects” at “very low field” intensities’
Safety Issues Related to the LAUSD RFR Thresholds : Los Angeles School District states they use precautionary RFR guidelines- however even a threshold at 10,000 times lower than FCC limits is not safe because peer reviewed published scientific research has shown harm at levels hundreds of thousands times lower than FCC limits. The school district is in fact increasing wireless exposures with Wi-Fi access points and increasing exposure to students and staff. LAUSD is not ensuring safety with these actions. In addition the LAUSD measures the radiation in the building by averaging the power density which masks areas of high intensity and peak exposures. From a human health standpoint, the RFR measurements need to include peak readings in addition to the cumulative length of time children are exposed to RF radiation in order to fully understand their exposure. Until these measures are taken, one cannot adequately evaluate the EMF environment.
Note on Safety: Digital Device “Best Practices” that still allow Wi-Fi access points in classrooms- still allow microwave exposures to the children and such practices are not adequately protective to children. These District actions seem to be acknowledgment that wireless device expose the body to radiation. However, such “Best Practices” still allow access points to be powered on and thus are always exposing the students and staff to continuous microwave radiation regardless of the devices being in use or not. In addition, devices are also continuously transmitting during student use of the internet and no procedure is in place to ensure that Best Practices are followed so that the transmissions are turned off when the internet is not needed. Therefore these “Best Practices” do not mitigate the risk nor do they protect students from School District created wireless exposures.
Los Angeles, California Public Schools Design Guide 2007 includes Recommendations to Reduce EMF
“The design of new school facilities, and modernization projects must include measures to minimize the building occupants’ exposure to high electromagnetic fields emitted by electrical equipment such as transformers, switchboards, panel boards, and building wiring. The following guidelines can help minimize electromagnetic field exposure and interference”- Los Angeles, California Public Schools Design Guide 2007
SCHOOLS THAT ARE REMOVING WI-FI OR REDUCING CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE
NOTE: EHT is listing these actions as they happen. Sometimes things change over time. Please contact us if information needs updating. Please also contact us if a school needs to be on this list that we have not identified.
2018: Escola Waldorf Acalanto: Wi-Fi removed in 2018.
2018: Headwaters Academy, Ontario Canada: Completely WiFi free
- A 110-acre set atop the Niagara Escarpment in the beautiful Beaver Valley near Thornbury, Ontario
- Headwaters Academy (JK-8) opted to use hard-wired iMacs in the passive solar-heated classroom and provide a WiFi free learning environment. Top marks were earned with Air Quality as well.
2018: The Santa Fe Waldorf in New Mexico: Wi-Fi removed in elementary school building. Currently accommodating children with EHS in the elementary school. Has previously accommodated children with MCS, and is currently equipped to do so. Elementary school is fully Wi-fi free since Feb 2018.
2017: Worcester Massachusetts, School Committee voted to approve “precautionary options” to be posted on the Worcester District Website. Read Press Release.
2017: San Diego California USA Waldorf School: Adopted CHPS guidelines wired internet/electronic free zones/and hardwired phones per article published in Renewal Magazine.
2017: Sacramento California USA Waldorf School: WiFi will be turned off when not in use starting in Fall 2017.
2017: Fiskars primary school: Wi-fi OFF Switches Installed in the Fiskars primary school. Read press release.
2017: Cyprus Bans Wi-Fi from kindergartens, removes Wi-Fi from elementary classrooms and halts deployment. Original Translated Directive from the Cyprus Minister of Culture and Education ; Read Press release on Cyprus Wi-Fi removal from elementary classrooms
2016: Haifa, Israel: Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav (of Israel’s 3rd largest city) ordered all schools to have wireless removed and replaced with wired connections. Watch Haifa School IT Chief describe how they removed/reduced wireless.
- Read Krayot news article: Haifa Cuts off Wi-Fi in Schools
- Hamodia article: Haifa to Shut School Wireless Networks
- Reshet TV Report
- News Report Israel CH2 Documentary – “How do we kill our self – Radiation” with unofficial English translation
- News Report “Parents Fight Wireless Radiation in Schools” on Supreme Court Case in Israel
2016 Lowell School, Washington DC
- In the kindergarten wing in 2016, the Wi-Fi hotspots were removed and the teachers are given ethernet and adapters so that computers and class technology can be ethernet connected (corded) to reduce RF-EMF exposure.
2016 Italy: Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino laid out plans “to cut back on Wi-Fi in state schools and government buildings over concerns that radiation might damage people’s health”.
2016: Onteora School District in New York State USA
- April 20, 2016 Meeting Minutes Page 2.
- District adopts “Best Practices with Wi-Fi stating:
- “Turn off the device when not in use and at the end of each day. If device is to stay on, turn Wi-Fi off when not in use. Always place device on a solid surface.Viewing distance should be a minimum of 12 inches from the screen.Staff was asked by the Principals to post this in areas that contain computers and devices. They are reminding staff to follow it.”
- “Mayor Livio Tola told the town’s high school and elementary school to return to using cables to connect to the internet after reading that the electromagnetic waves given off by wireless routers were especially harmful to young children.”
- The Local Newspaper article – “Italian town shuts down wifi over health fears”
- Torino News Article – “Ivrea, The Mayor Removes WiFi as it Could Be Dangerous”.
- Children use ipads in flight mode on desk and parents may request that their child use an Ethernet cord. Children are taught about the health precautions as part of their cyber citizenship.
Denmark Schools that have removed or reduced wireless exposure
Bjedstrup elementary School og Børnehus, (school and kindergarten) Student must hand over cell phones before classes + no wifi in school premises
Hammer Free Private School – all internet connections are hard wired
Vejlernes private school – no wifi
Kastanjely kindergarten – no wifi
- Official resolutions number 1 and Resolution 2
- Their two resolutions decided: a) to ban wifi in school and install a wired system for the use of internet and b) Reject the request of the local government (Municipality) to install an antenna on the school roof for the wireless signal providing for the “Wireless city” program. The resolution also asks the Municipality to install the antenna at a reasonable distance from school.
2016: The Piemonte Region has adopted a resolution to limit EMF exposure
- Original Resolution
- Resolution limits the use of wifi in schools and is considerate to the problem of EHS people.
2015: Ashland Public Schools, Mass (USA)
Ashland is the first school district to vote to enact “Best Practices” in classrooms and publicly post these instructions which include turning off Wi-Fi when not in use and keeping devices in a table, not a lap
News article on these “Best Practices” to turn the WiFi off when not in use,
- Download teacher training PPT slides . Video of parent who initiated this
- Video of school board member discussing the process
- Magazine article on Ashland’s Decision
2016: Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School, Australia, 100% Wi-Fi Free School
2016: Yallingup Steiner School Australia , WiFi Free Classrooms
2016: Linuwel School , Australia ,WiFi in some classrooms, Can accommodate children with EHS.
2016: Cairns Hinterland Steiner School , Australia, WiFi Free Classrooms (may be available in other areas)
2016: Wild Cherry School, Australia , 100% Wi-Fi Free
2015: St. Cajetanus School, Belgium: Wired Internet installed and wireless removed.
2015: Washington Waldorf School, Maryland, USA: Removed Wi-Fi Routers from Buildings, Ethernet installed. WAMU Report on Wi-Fi removal featuring the Head of School
2015: Freshwater Creek School, Australia, 100% Wi-Fi Free
2015: London, Acorn School: Screen Free. Read News article
2015: Lorien Novalis School, Australia, 100% Wi-Fi Free School Preschool to 12th grade.
2015: Cairns Hinterland School, Australia, WiFi Free Classrooms for EHS
2014: Acorn Hill School, Maryland: Reducing exposure to Wi-Fi. In process.
2014: Friends Community School: Wi-Fi turned off in wing for lower elementary school students. WiFi routers moved OUT of classrooms into hallways for older grades to reduce EMF exposure. Ethernet wires made available in classrooms for families who want children on corded (not wireless) computers.
2014: DearCroft Montessori: Hardwired internet to younger grades, limited Wi-Fi Router exposure to older grades.
2014: Portland Waldorf School, Portland Oregon,USA, WiFi removed.
2014: Meeting House Montessori, Braintree Massachusetts, USA, WiFi replaced with ethernet.
2014: Ghent, Belgium, Wi-fi banned from pre-schools and day care.
2014: The St. Augustine School in Italy turned off Wifi and goes back to Wires.
2013 Winlaw Elementary School, B.C. Canada turned off WiFi.
2013 Te Horo Primary School New Zealand Replaced WIFI with cable-based internet.
2013 Kootenay Lakes District School Board BC (One school without Wi-Fi)
2013 Blaise-Cendrars High School, Switzerland. Teachers vote to remove WiFi.
2012 Kivioja primary school in Ylivieska Finland bans phones and minimizes Wireless.
2012: Halton Waldorf, in Burlington Vermont: Remaining free of Wireless Radiation
2011 City of Lakes Waldorf School, WiFi taken out. Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
2011 Aurora School in Ontario removed Wifi and replaced with hardwired.
2011 North Cariboo Christian School in Quesnel, B.C., removed Wi-fi .
2011 Pretty River Academy in Ontario no WiFi.
2011 Wayside Academy, Peterborough, Ontario no Wi Fi.
2010 Surrey, BC Roots and Wings Montessori removed Wi-Fi.
2010 Ontario St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school: Parents voted to turn off Wi-Fi.
2009 HEROUVILLE-SAINT-CLAIR wi-fi networks removed.
Cell Phone Bans in Schools
This list covers bans of cell phones that occurred after the schools found cell phones in classrooms to be distracting and problematic. It is not necessarily because of the radiofrequency and health issues. This is not a complete list but rather a list as stories make the news starting in 2017. Hyperlinks goto news source
France: Cell Phones totally banned in schools for students up to 14 years old. The ban includes hallways, playgrounds and in between classes. Read more about French policy here and read the 2017 news article in Le Monde “No More Phones in Schools and Colleges here” here. The policy will be in place by September 2018.
Israel: Cell Phones were BANNED in Israel School Classrooms in 2016. Read more here.
Victoria Middle School, Canada, May 2017 Cellphone ban at Victoria middle school pushes the wrong buttons
Mansfield City Schools, Ohio, USA, July 2017 News article “Ohio school district bans student cell phone use.”
- The first of the two new policies bans use of cell phones or other personal communication devices not only in the classroom but also before and after school, at lunch and in between classes. Unless approved by a teacher or administrator, the devices must be “powered completely off” and stored out of sight.
Portage High in Wisconsin USA: Read the 2017 news article: Portage High bans cellphones | Principal: Policy will be a challenge for everyone and Cellphone ban at Portage High School showing positive impact
Highland Middle School, Illinois USA Middle schools ban smartphones so students build social smarts
Collinsville IL Middle School, Illinois USA: Read “Metro-east middle school bans students from using cellphones”
Paris Maine Schools News article: Local school implements new cell phone ban
Framington Massachusetts, USA Framingham Middle Schools Ban Cell Phones For 2017-18 School Year
Lakeview High School in Battle Creek Michigan. Read the 2016 News article, Michigan high school bans cell phones in class
Lewiston Middle School Maine USA, Read Lewiston Middle School bans student cell phone use and also Lewiston Middle School Principal answers your questions about cell phone ban.
Corona Del Mar Middle School in Newport-Mesa Unified School District California USA 2017 News article, “At Corona del Mar Middle School, kids can’t use cellphones at lunch. The result? They talk.” Old Rochester Regional High School: Massachusetts high school bans cell phones from classrooms
The above US bans are not related to cell phone radiation issues butinstead- the way that cell phones disrupt educations.
Read more about US Schools reducing wireless radiation and schools internationally taking action. Read about PTAs and Unions Taking action on wireless. Read about Firefighters taking action on cell towers.