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Gov. Youngkin takes aim at cell phone-free education in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin July 9 issued Executive Order 33, which directs the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to draft guidance for public school divisions to adopt local policies and procedures establishing cell phone-free education. 

The EO directs VDOE to initiate a robust public engagement effort with parents, students, teachers, local school leaders and other stakeholders to develop collaboratively policies and procedures that establish the age-appropriate restriction or elimination of cell phone use during instructional time, as well as to establish protocols allowing parents to contact their children in emergency and other important situations. 

In addition, the Governor announced today that the VDOE and the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services (DBDHS) will make a combined $500,000 available from existing funds to support implementation of this mental health and safety initiative. 

“This essential action will promote a healthier and more focused educational environment where every child is free to learn. Creating cell phone and social media-free educational environments in Virginia’s K-12 education system will benefit students, parents, and educators,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Today’s Executive Order both establishes the clear goal to protect the health and safety of our students by limiting the amount of time they are exposed to addictive cell phones and social media and eliminates clear distractions in the classroom. It also kicks off the robust conversations among parents, students, teachers, and school and community leaders necessary to design and implement these policies and procedures at the local level.”

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