Alberta school division bans cellphones

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Alberta school division bans cellphones from class
WATCH: The first day of school is just a weekend away. Elk Island Public School Division is welcoming students back -- but not their cellphones. Sarah Komadina explains – Aug 30, 2019

Elk Island Public School Division wants students to stop staring at their phones in class and put their gaze back on teachers. Starting the first day of school, cellphones are banned. This includes schools in Vegreville, Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park.

“It has the potential to make a significant difference, especially around the distraction students face on a daily basis,” Elk Island Public Schools Supt. Mark Liguori said.

“When the phones go off, it takes students’ attention away from what they are doing with the task at hand.”

On average, teens get more than three hours of screen time a day, according to Health Canada, and during school that causes major distractions.

READ MORE: The risks and rewards of imposing a cellphone ban in Alberta classrooms

The Ontario government says more distractions mean lower test scores. The province has banned cellphones in schools across Ontario.

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The Alberta government said in an email it has no plans to follow suit.

READ MORE: Cellphone ban to take effect for students in Ontario classrooms by November 2019

For Elk Island students, the ban varies. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 can’t have a cellphone in class or during breaks. Kids in Grades 7 and up can use their phones during breaks.

Some Elk Island parents like the idea of ban.

“The kids are there to learn about their subjects and I think cellphones have become too much of a disruption in the classroom and it’s hard on the teachers,” parent Lori Parchem said.

“Phones are a huge distraction and I know with one of my teenagers, she’s not paying attention, so it would be good that they’re not in the classroom,” Michelle Cameron said.

READ MORE: Here’s how much screen time your kids should be getting, according to new recommendations

Elk Island students can still access their cell if they are given permission by a teacher. If they are caught with their phone the division said students are accepting the risk of it being confiscated.

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