Cellphone restrictions in Ontario classrooms are in effect

Apps on a smart phone are shown in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, November 13, 2017. Cellphones will be banned in Ontario classrooms during instructional time, starting in September. Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement Tuesday that a formal announcement is coming soon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO: New restrictions on the use of cellphones in classrooms across Ontario go into effect today.

The directive says students can only use personal mobile devices during instructional time if it’s for educational purposes, for health or medical purposes, or for special needs.

Some schools already have similar policies, but the directive sets a provincial standard.

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government conducted education consultations last year, and respondents overwhelmingly favoured some sort of restriction on phones in class.

The Toronto District School Board used to have a cellphone ban, but reversed it after four years to let teachers dictate what works best for their classrooms.

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that “student performance in high-stakes exams significantly increases” with a ban on mobile phones.