PARENTS have expressed outrage after their children’s school told pupils to turn off the contact tracing app while in lessons.

Students in Year 12 and 13 at Turton Sixth Form received an email this week with the request.

It said: “Miss Gorse has asked that Y12 and Y13 students turn off the contact tracing on their NHS Covid app while in lessons.

“This is to avoid whole classes being asked to isolate rather than just those who were close to students testing positive.”

Parents have been left concerned and outraged after seeing the email.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “All you hear is people telling you to download the track and trace app and use it, and then the headmistress tells your children not to use it.

“Who do you believe, the NHS, the government, the health officials, or Miss Gorse?

“As a parent, I’m concerned that my daughter’s in that school and you’ve got a woman giving impressionable children confusing messages," the parent added.

“It’s hard enough to understand what they can and can’t do without all this, what kind of signal does that give?

“It feels like she’s not taking our children’s health into account.”

Many students thought they were being told to turn off the contact tracing app at all times during lessons.

However, headteacher Sam Gorse clarified the school’s position, and explained that this was not the intended meaning.

She said: “I talked to the sixth-form students and told them sometimes it’s not helpful to have the contact tracing on because if you’ve not got your phone on you then it can track contacts that you’ve not had.

“If you leave it in your bag or your locker then we could see students who were stood near that phone told to self-isolate despite never being in contact with the person.

“I don’t want to send kids home when they’ve been stood by a phone, it’s very unhelpful when you’re trying to keep students in school.”

Shortly after speaking with The Bolton News, a second email was sent out to the parents of sixth-form students, apologising for a “miscommunication” which had led to the misunderstanding.

Government guidance issued on the use of the NHS Covid-19 app in schools and colleges states that contact tracing should only be paused in three situations - when someone has put their phone in a locker or communal area, when they’re working behind a perspex screen, or when health care staff are wearing medical grade PPE for work.