NHS Track and Trace and devices kept in lockers

Please be aware of the potential issues of the track and trace being switched on staff devices in your setting.

One of our clients has had to close their setting as all of their staff were ‘pinged’ by the NHS track and trace mobile phone application. The app alerts you if you have been near someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, however, staff had not been close to one another, but their phones had.

Like most settings, the nursery in question requests that staff leave their mobile devices in a locker whilst they are on the premises. When a member of staff tested positive for COVID-19, the track and trace application alerted others it believed had been in close proximity to the infected person. As track and trace presumes you are where your phone is, all staff whose phones were stored alongside the positive staff members’ device were told to self-isolate as per Government guideline. (If you are found not to be following the Government rules on self-isolation, you can be fined a minimum of £1000 up to £10,000 if you are found to be preventing others from self-isolating.) This has meant that the nursery has had to close while staff self-isolate for 14 days.

How to avoid this potentially happening in your setting?

The Government has released guidance for the use of the track and trace app in educations and childcare. This latest guidance, updated on 6 November, advises that contract tracing can be paused if devices are being store together during shifts. Please read the Government guidance.

How do you pause contact tracing?

The NHS has produced information on how to pause contact tracing which can be shared with your teams. When putting the app on pause, it will give the user the option to set a reminder for 4, 8 or 12 hours, after which they will receive a notification to remind them to switch contact tracing back on. Staff can be assured that when not at work, the app is still functioning as it should.  How to pause contact tracing?