A bill that would require the Maryland State Department of Education and Department of Health to develop health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms was introduced into the state’s House Ways and Means Committee Feb. 7.
An Act Concerning Public Schools – Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures – Digital Devices, or HB 1110, sets June 1, 2019, as the deadline for these guidelines.
The departments would then provide the guidelines to each county board for consideration and adoption by July 1, 2019, according to the legislation.
The legislation also states that the department of education should consult with a work group of affected stakeholders, including representatives from:
- Maryland State Education Association;
- Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland;
- Maryland Parent Teacher Association;
- Maryland Association of Boards of Education;
- Maryland Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics;
- MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society;
- Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood;
- Parents Across America;
- Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes program of the NIH;
- Maryland Association of County Health Officers;
- Mental Health Association of Maryland;
- Maryland Association of School Health Nurses;
- the occupational safety and health profession;
- the medical profession; and
- any other entity with relevant expertise or whose members will be impacted by the guidelines and procedures.
The department of education should submit an interim report to the governor and General Assembly on its progress by Dec. 1, according to the proposed legislation. It also states that the act should take effect June 1.
In a recent letter to Maryland lawmakers and subcommittee members, two experts from the National Education Policy Center, Alex Molnar and Faith Boninger, urged endorsement of the act, according to an announcement from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.