Students face new cell phone restrictions in September

Students will have new rules for cell phones when they return to school this fall.

On Monday, June 17, the province announced all students in Alberta will have to keep personal electronic devices turned off and stored out of sight during class time, effective September 1, 2024.

The policy change comes after months of consultation with educators, students, and more than 68,000 parents.

“Parents, teachers, students and our education partners were clear that the use of personal mobile devices and social media in the classroom was of concern,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education.

“We’re taking a measured approach to protect students by restricting the use of personal mobile devices during instructional time to reduce distractions and bullying, maximize learning time and support student mental health.”

The new standards for personal mobile devices will set restrictions, enforcement procedures, and exceptions for Alberta’s K-12 schools and early childhood services. Provincewide exceptions will be made for students using mobile devices for health and medical needs, specialized learning support, and educational purposes.

Jason Schilling, president, the Alberta Teachers Association is in favour of the changes.

“The ATA is pleased to see that the government’s direction reflects ATA policy in keeping students focused on their learning,” said Schilling.

“Teachers and school leaders look forward to having the support of government and school boards as they implement this new policy.”

School authorities will still implement locally developed policies and procedures for the use of personal mobile devices and social media in their schools, but the policies must reflect the new provincial standards.

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