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Updated Restrictions for Cell Phones and Digital Devices

Restrictions to students’ use of digital devices, including cell phones, are being added to the Code of Conduct for the Burnaby School District.

The new language – found in full at the bottom of the page – will come into effect on July 1, as per the requirement to all school districts in BC issued by the Ministry of Education and Child Care.

The additional language in the Code of Conduct makes it clear that all students need to have their devices safely stored, on silent mode, and out of sight during instructional time. The classroom teacher may give permission for students to use digital devices for education-related activities. Certain exceptions to the restrictions are also outlined in the added language, as are variations for elementary and secondary students. Elementary students are also restricted from using digital devices during non-instructional time, such as at recess and lunch.

Roberto Bombelli is the Deputy Superintendent for the District:

There’s a time to use cell phones and other digital devices and a time to have them stored away. The biggest shift with these updated restrictions is codifying the language. Across the District, there’s already a focus on uninterrupted learning, coupled with responsible and safe use of technology in schools. These changes to the Code of Conduct solidify the approach across all schools and add further clarity for students and their families around expectations during the school day.”

As draft language was being developed, the District consulted with partner groups, including: District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC); District Student Advisory Council (DSAC); Burnaby Teachers’ Association (BTA); CUPE Local 379; and Burnaby Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association (BPVPA). In order to ensure effective strategies currently used at schools were fully considered, the District worked directly with all school principals during the development phase.

The updates to the Code of Conduct align with the District’s broader strategy to support students with the skills they need to make smart and safe choices with technology – whether it’s use of cell phones, artificial intelligence, or social media.

This school year the District has had a focus on what’s called digital literacy, digital citizenship and digital wellness. Together, they give children and youth the tools to both make technology work for them and make good decisions while they’re using it. Throughout the year there has been an awareness campaign, a focus on students’ skills in the classroom – including resources, lesson plans and professional development for teachers – information evenings for parents and caregivers, as well as a new site of curated resources for families.

Learn More

Helping Families Navigate Digital Life – June 2024

School District Launches Parent Info Sessions for Healthy Digital Habits – Burnaby Beacon, May 8, 2024

Supports for Families with Their Digital Strategies at Home – February 2024

Supporting Students with Skills for a Healthy Digital Life – February 2024

Posted June 2024