Aberdeen Teachers told to turn off Track and Trace While in Schools

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Teachers based in Aberdeen have been given a letter warning them to disable the Track and Trace app - which was created to tackle the issue of identifying people with coronavirus during the ongoing pandemic.


A letter was sent to teachers across Aberdeen with Caroline Johnstone, QIM, sending a message originating from the Chief Education Officer, Eleanor Sheppard.


The letter requested the teaching staff to refuse tracking permissions to the Track and Trace app while in their workplaces. This is due to the Track and Trace app not being “able to identify when robust mitigations have been in place", following a series of false notifications from the app about teaching staff being close contacts of others.


An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson admitted that copies of the letter were posted out to teachers working in Aberdeen.


She commented: “We had a positive case in a school and we undertook an investigation and Public Health also made an assessment. The use of medical-grade PPE by staff resulted in them not being identified as a close contact.


“Some time later, the app sent a message to the same staff and asked them to self-isolate. Public Health advised that staff disable the app whilst in school. We passed that advice onto schools whilst we await an update from the Scottish Government who we advised of the issue on Tuesday evening.”


Despite teachers being issued this warning, the Scottish Government have encouraged them to keep the app switched on as not doing so would “defeat the purpose'.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not agree with the advice given in the letter. She said the app does not have issues and is not to blame. She backed up her statement and said that mobile phones and the Track and Trace app should remain turned on.


She stated: “I understand there may have been an incident in a school in Aberdeen, where a number of phones perhaps were together but the owners were not, therefore they all got pinged.


“That is not a flaw – that is about if you are not with your phone, switching off the app is not something that is causing a problem.


“We shouldn’t be asking people to switch off the app when they have their phone with them that is defeating the purpose of Protect Scotland.


“We should be encouraging people to keep their phones on them with the app switched on to ensure that Protect Scotland is working the way it should.


“I cannot be clearer, if you are a teacher in a school, there is no reason why you would be routinely advised to turn that app off.”


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