OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ High school students within the Omaha school district can now check their smartphones in between classes or during lunch thanks to a recent change in rules.

The school board last week approved a change to student code conduct that eases rules on cellphone use for the high school students, the Omaha World-Herald ( ) reported. The district previously required them to keep their phones off during the school day unless it was an emergency or they had received special permission.

Elementary and middle school students still have to keep their phones inside lockers or backpacks and they must be off during the school day.

Compared with other metro area high schools in Nebraska, the Omaha district is a little late to the game on cellphone tolerance. The Millard, Bellevue and Papillion-La Vista school districts gave their students the green light several years ago to call their parents or watch videos on their phone during lunch or between classes.

The Omaha district hopes the change in its rules encourages more teachers to incorporate technology such as the smartphones into lesson plans, said Rob Dickson, the district’s executive director for information services. If the change goes well, elementary and middle school rules might be changed, too.

“It is a shift,” Dickson said. “Our kids today have cellphones at a very early age.”