Centralised Test and Trace system failing local schools

Councillors have highlighted the persistent issues with the centralised Track and Trace system, which is failing to supress covid cases across local schools.


The responsibility for informing parents that their child is a close contact of a positive case sits with NHS Test and Trace who carry out contact tracing. Under current government policy, schools are unable to share this information with anyone, meaning the council’s public health team are only able to contact the people whose details are passed on by NHS Test and Trace.


Parents have contacted local councillors to express their concerns that the national service is failing to ask which year group children who have tested positive are attending, only enquiring about the name of the school. This has seen parents left in the dark about positive Covid cases at their child’s school, leaving them to have to share the information amongst themselves.


Latest weekly Covid data tracker report reveals that in the 7 days up to 1.11.21 in York, there were 357 children of primary or secondary school age who tested positive across 43 schools. At the end of October, children at York schools were being urged to take extra precautions to help curb the spread of coronavirus following a significant rise in positive cases.



Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, commented:


“The failures of the national system are once again affecting the work of our excellent Public Health teams in stopping the spread of the virus locally. If Government had listened to local Councils and let Track and Trace be run locally, we could have a much better, more responsive and cost-effective service.


“Schools and public health teams are working closely together to do what they can to protect children and their households from infection but are required to work within government policy which is often counterproductive.


“The mismanagement of the Track and Trace system has tied the hands of local schools and councils, who are doing all to stop the spread of the virus and protect children’s education.”


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