Loudoun County implements strict cell phone policy for students

School districts in Northern Virginia are tackling the growing issue of classroom distractions, particularly those caused by cell phones. 

In response, Loudoun County Public Schools have introduced a new, stringent policy starting this fall.

Parents have mixed feelings about the new rules. While they appreciate the focus on reducing interruptions, they also want to maintain communication with their children during the school day.

"I think on the whole it’s helpful to not have intrusions and interruptions during instructional time. I am a little bit conflicted in that if there was a safety issue, then I would want to be able to contact my children," said Abbie Platt, an LCPS parent. "On the whole, I am supportive of having boundaries and rules; I think that’s healthy and important."


Local school officials clash with parents over campus restrictions on cell phones

As growing numbers of schools move to limit student access to cellphones, many are navigating pushback from parents.

Policy 8655, regarding student personal device use, was passed unanimously by the Loudoun County School Board and will be enforced this fall. 

The policy prohibits elementary school students from using electronics. Middle schoolers can use their technology only at the start and end of the school day and must keep their cell phones on silent in their locker or classroom storage — not in their backpacks or pockets. High school students are allowed to use their devices between classes or at lunch with staff permission.

Cell phones, tablets, earbuds, and gaming devices are among the electronics banned during academic hours. In case of emergencies, parents can contact the main office to reach their child.


Fairfax County schools plan to crack down on cell phone usage next school year

A new policy starting next school year might require students now lock up their cell phones in Fairfax County.

Neighboring jurisdictions, including Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Prince William County, have implemented similar policies. The aim is to limit distractions in the classroom.

One teacher shared her classroom experience with the school board. 

"Of the 15 students in the class—and this was at the secondary level, I believe middle school—9 of the students in the lesson were on their phones, completely disengaged, and most had their AirPods in their ears. It’s not as if the students were checking texts or looking up the meaning of a word; they were actively not listening and may have even been watching something on their phones. This issue shows a great deal of apathy, not just towards teachers and their peers in the classroom, but also their grades," said April Chandler, an LCPS School Board member.

As the new policy details are finalized, LCPS plans to provide more information to parents ahead of the upcoming school year.