School left short-staffed after nine teachers were mistakenly told to self-isolate by NHS app

A SCHOOL was left stumped when NINE teachers were told to self-isolate at home by the NHS app – because they all kept their phones in the same drawer.

Brighton and Hove Bilingual Primary was forced to operate on skeleton staff after the Test and Trace gaffe.

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Nine staff members at Brighton and Hove Bilingual Primary were mistakenly sent home
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The NHS app told them all to self-isolate as they had kept their phones in the same drawer[/caption]

Just one teacher was meant to stay at home after previously coming into contact with somebody outside work who showed Covid-19 symptoms.

But because teachers keep mobile phones in the same staff room drawer during lessons, the app demanded nearly half a dozen of them take time off.

It left the school frantically needing to arrange cover at the last minute to combine classes for its 570 pupils.

Headteacher Simon King told parents: “It may have come to your attention that a number of staff members have been absent today.

“This large number of absences has been triggered by notifications from the NHS test and trace app.

“In this case, there appears to be an anomaly and the isolation notices may be inappropriate as they have occurred automatically where unattended devices have been in contact.”

‘BUGS NEED IRONING OUT’

Arranging teacher cover proved particularly challenging for school bosses, because the bilingual primary teaches a Spanish curriculum alongside the English version.

One parent said: “There was real shock initially because it looked like a massive coronavirus outbreak was taking place.

“Nine teachers off at the same time could mean only one thing and until Mr King told parents what happened, there was some real panic.

“The Test and Trace app clearly needs a few bugs ironed out.”

Headteacher Mr King told The Sun last night: “Recently, a number of members of staff went into self-isolation following alerts from Test and Trace as well as follow up advice from Public Health England.

“I speculated about the cause of the Test and Trace alerts in my initial email to parents.

“Further conversations confirmed the need to isolate.”

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