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Ontario introducing plan to limit cellphone use, social media and vaping in schools

TORONTO — Ontario’s education minister says new policies limiting cellphone use in classrooms, restricting access to all social media networks and banning vaping on school properties are meant to curb distraction levels among the province’s students.

Stephen Lecce announced the new measures at a morning news conference and touted them as necessary steps to improve safety in schools and help students focus in class. 

Kids in kindergarten to Grade 6 will now be required to keep phones on silent and out of sight for the entire school day unless they get explicit permission from an educator, while those in grades seven and up will see cellphone use banned during class time.

The new policy will also block access to all social media platforms on school networks and devices, a move the government says is the first of its kind among Canadian provinces. 

Report cards will now also include comments on students’ distraction levels in class. 

Lecce says vaping will be banned in all schools, adding students will be required to hand over any vapes or cigarettes they’re caught carrying and school staff will notify parents in those circumstances.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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