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Toronto District School Board

TDSB To Create New Cellphone/Mobile Device Policy

Categories: News News Releases

Trustees also Approve Moving PA Day due to Solar Eclipse

Trustees with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have given the green light to the development of a new Cellphone/Mobile Device policy during this evening’s Regular Board Meeting. Building on the limited provisions within the Board Code of Conduct, the new policy aims to strike a better balance between using devices for educational purposes and enabling students to maintain focus in classrooms.

The TDSB’s Board Code of Conduct currently includes a provision that outlines expectations for members of school community including respecting the need of others to work in an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching, including by ensuring that personal mobile devices are only used during instructional time for education purposes, as directed by an educator, for health and medical reasons and to support special education needs.

With this evening’s approval, staff will now create a policy development plan that will outline next steps including timelines and opportunities for students, staff and families to provide feedback as part of an extensive public consultation process. More information on this process will be shared as soon as it is confirmed.

Trustees also approved a revision to the 2023-24 school year calendar ahead of an upcoming total solar eclipse. The Professional Activity (PA) Day originally scheduled for Friday, April 19, 2024, has been moved to Monday, April 8, 2024. As the eclipse will occur around the dismissal times of many schools, there were concerns that children would be outside and possibly looking directly at the sun, which without appropriate protection, can lead to serious problems such as partial or complete loss of eyesight. There were also traffic-related concerns as students could be walking home in temporary darkness.

This decision, which was made following guidance and consultation with the Ministry of Education, is in line with similar changes announced by other school boards in the Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe Area, including the Toronto Catholic District School Board, with which TDSB shares student transportation services.

“I’m pleased that we have taken this first important step in creating a new cellphone/mobile device policy, however the real work begins now. We must craft a policy that is based on best practices, the latest research and public consultation. If we get this right, this policy has the potential to have truly monumental impacts on student learning, well-being and student achievement.”

- Rachel Chernos Lin, Chair, TDSB

“By better managing screen time and cellphone usage, we are aiming to promote a culture of student engagement and well-being over constant connectivity. Our classrooms should foster more meaningful relationships and focused academic engagement."

- Colleen Russell-Rawlins, Director of Education, TDSB