VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In a unanimous vote, the Virginia Beach school board has banned cell phone usage inside classrooms ahead of the upcoming school year.

The vote came late at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The new policy will require students to put their cell phones, earbuds, and wireless headphones in their backpack, purse or locker and keep them off or on silent.

Phones will not be allowed in pockets or on top of desks. Students can use their phones in the hallway or at lunch.

The last time Beach schools updated a student cell phone policy was in 2015. That’s when phones were mainly used for calls and texts. Now, with the popularity of social media and the distractions that come with it, school administrators say something needs to change.

Data from fellow students, teachers and administrators showed phone usage in class hindered a student’s ability to focus and led to declined mental health and a negative impact on learning. The policy intends to maximize student engagement.

This is breaking news and will be updated.

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