SD 71 – Important Information about Personal Digital Devices






Dear Parents and Guardians,

As Comox Valley Schools continues to embrace the use of technology to support learning, we recognize the importance of maintaining a focused and safe learning environment for our students. This consideration has been recently reinforced by provincial guidelines and legislation. With this in mind, we would like to share some updates regarding the use of personal digital devices (PDDs) such as cell phones, tablets, smartwatches, earbuds, and other electronic gadgets within our schools.

Recent Developments: On January 26th, 2024, the Province announced three actions aimed at enhancing the safety and well-being of students concerning digital technology. These measures include guidelines on the use of PDDs in schools, which will be implemented in the upcoming 2024-25 school year.

Why This Matters: Studies indicate that constant interruptions from digital devices, particularly social media alerts, along with the habit-forming nature of these platforms and the increase in cyberbullying, can disrupt the learning process and affect student welfare.

SD 71’s Perspective: While our school district already has established expectations restricting PDD use during class, we will now uniformly apply these expectations across all schools, as directed by the Province. Students with specific educational or medical needs outlined in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Learning Support Plan (LSP) will continue to use PDDs to support their educational or medical needs.

New Guidelines for September 2024:

  1. Elementary School Programs:
    • At our elementary schools, there is no student access to or use of personal digital devices at any time on the school campus during the school day, unless they have been given permission by their teacher or school vice-principal/principal. This is essentially a “bell-to-bell” restriction from the beginning of school to the end of the day. Parents are reminded that elementary students are always under direct supervision and that the school will communicate with home for any emergent need that arises.
  1. Middle and Secondary School Programs:
    • At our middle and secondary school programs, student access to and use of personal digital devices will not be permitted during instructional time, unless they have been given permission from their teacher or vice-principal/principal.
    • At the teacher’s or school leadership’s discretion, exemptions may be made when the use of such devices supports a specific curricular objective and is part of instructional planning. These schools will follow up with further information for their school communities.
  1. Security & Storage:
    • Students are responsible for the security of their devices. The school cannot be held liable for lost, damaged, or stolen items. If necessary, students should secure their devices in lockers or other safe places.
  1. Staying in Touch:
    • If you need to contact your child during school hours, please call the main office.

Resources to Support: This summer, we encourage you to discuss with your child(ren) the safe and responsible use of technology. The following resources may be helpful for these conversations:

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we strive to create the best possible educational environment for our students. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to your school principal.