Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Digital Devices in the Classroom Health and Safety Guidelines. I am a digital wellness instructor, health journalist, Commonwealth resident, and former Fairfax County Commissioner (Hunter Mill district). In 2020, I attended hearings on HB 817 and testified in support.
The guidelines and infographic are an important start, but major improvement is needed. In current form, they do not correspond directly with the law, especially pertaining to the stipulations:
Regarding the written Guidelines (pp. 1-11)
The written section of the Guidelines contains some useful guidance, but as such is disorganized, repetitious and needs additional content. (see below)
More work is needed to make the document more user-friendly, such as adding internal links to recommended resources, or—better yet—clearly summarizing the information.
Since these guidelines are meant for teachers and other school staff, it may not be appropriate to include information for parents. However, if information for parents is included, it should be clearly delineated and separate from information meant for teachers.
Regarding the Guidelines Infographic:
These guidelines are to protect students, not devices. Therefore, the first paragraph of page 1 should be modified to say “health and safety best practice guidelines for the effective integration of digital devices in public schools” to “to develop and distribute health and safety best practice guidelines for student use of digital devices in public schools,” as is stated in the written guidelines.
All messaging should directly and specifically correspond to the written guidelines.
In current form, content is disorganized and should be re-arranged for maximum impact and at-a-glance understanding.
For instance, since the Guidelines protect student safety and health around digital devices, it is appropriate that sections on Screen Time & Break Frequency/Ergonomics & Posture appear on the front page. Segments under those headings also need to be reorganized and clarified to avoid repetition and make concepts easier to understand. Note: I can provide detailed edits upon request.
For greatest instructional impact, graphics should depict specific best practices, such as:
Additional content needed in the Guidelines:
Guidelines should indicate where they can be added to existing curriculum, such in Physical Education or Health.
Finally, digital wellness communicators such as myself and child advocates knowledgeable in this area should be part of the Guidelines refinement process.