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Gov. Cox encourages educators to remove cell phones during class time

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 10, 2024

Contact:

Emma Williams

Office of the Governor

(385) 303-4383, ewilliams@utah.gov

Gov. Cox encourages educators to remove cell phones during class time 

SALT LAKE CITY (Jan. 10, 2024) – Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox has sent letters to district and charter school leaders, school principals, school community council members and the State Board of Education sharing his concerns about the harmful effects social media has on our children and asking them to remove cell phones during class time. 

“We all know that cell phones are a distraction and when we put phones away we can actually focus and study,” Gov. Cox said. “Cell phone-free learning environments will help our teachers teach and our students learn. We want to give our schools every opportunity to succeed and so I hope our local school districts and charter schools will join me in this effort to keep phones in backpacks or lockers during class time.” 

Many schools in Utah have already moved forward with schoolwide cell phone policies to limit student access and have shared experiences that are supported by compelling national data. They have found that learning improves, distractions are fewer, student engagement increases and opportunities for human connection are fostered when phones are kept in backpacks or lockers. 

For example, Delta High School in Millard School District is a “cell phone-free” school. Students put their phones in a clear pocket that hangs in front of the classroom. According to Assistant Principal Jared Christensen, “It was a battle to begin with, but it has been so worth it. Students and parents have all adapted, our teachers are happier and learning has increased.”

Evergreen Junior High in Granite School District does not allow cell phones to be out anytime during the school day. Students cannot use phones in classrooms, halls or lunchrooms. “It’s so much easier to just ban them altogether,” said Principal Ryan Shaw. “Learning has improved, and our scores reflect that. Bullying and fighting have decreased. The students connect with each other in a more meaningful way. We are grateful for the support we have from our community council – it’s been critical.” 

One of the reasons Evergreen Junior High has been so successful with implementation of their cell phone policy is that they proactively educate parents on the benefits. Gov. Cox has recommended that educators engage with parents and collaborate as they work together to develop cell phone policies.

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