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Teachers in Aberdeen Asked to Turn Off Covid App in Schools


Teaching staff in Aberdeen have been instructed to switch off the COVID-19 contact tracing app whilst at work.

The contact tracing app warns users if they have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus. BBC Scotland reports that a letter was sent out to staff asking them to turn off the app.

“Please ask staff in your schools to disable the Test and Trace app while working in school,” the letter states.

Despite the letter, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the app should remain turned on if it is installed on your phone.

Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of the Aberdeen City Council, said that local public health colleagues had advised the council on the instruction.

"What they had decided was that because teachers were using PPE, they shouldn't be deemed as a close contact and therefore at risk,” he said.

"We've now passed the issue on to the Scottish government to investigate to get further details because for me there should be national guidance given to local authorities so we can pass that information on to members of staff. We're seeking extra clarity at the moment”.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We shouldn't be asking people to switch off the app, in my view, when they have their phone with them.

“That's defeating the purpose of Protect Scotland. We should be encouraging people”.

The Aberdeen City Council said in a statement: "We have been working closely with public health officials locally and have agreed an enhanced level of PPE equipment for teachers and classroom assistants which is above that in the national guidance.

"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 on to schools whilst we await an update from the Scottish government who we advised of the issue on Tuesday evening.”

The teaching union, EIS, said that they found the request to be reasonable as most teachers leave their mobile phones in lockers when teaching, so do not usually have them on their person.

However, if someone does keep their phone with them, the EIS said that it saw no reason to turn off the app.

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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