A VCJ sixth former has blasted the contact tracing process after years 12 and 13 were forced to isolate despite many having had no contact with a student who tested positive for covid-19 last week.
Around 200 Victoria College students were sent home last Wednesday (18 November) following a confirmed case of the virus in the year 12 group.
They were initially told to make their way home and isolate for the rest of the week as a “precautionary measure” while the Contact Tracing team identified direct contacts of the positive case.
A letter from Headmaster Alun Watkins (see below) noted that if parents hadn’t been contacted by 22:00 on Friday 20 November, their child would be able to return to school this morning.
However, the whole year group was later told to self-isolate.
Pictured: One student said the situation had shown “complete disregard to 180+ students education and mental wellbeing”.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, has voiced concerns about the situation, describing it as “blanket banning and box-ticking”, which he said showed “complete disregard to 180+ students' education and mental wellbeing."
The teen whistleblower questioned why the whole class was treated as a direct contact when he, along with others in his year, didn’t know the student who initially tested positive.
“A Direct Contact is a person you have been within 2m of for a total of 15 mins. One by one we seemed to all be getting called,” he said.
“I don't know what the pupil who contracted covid looks like, I didn't recognise his name, I am in none of his classes, or as far as I can think of, ever spoken to this pupil.”
The young man suggested that more should have been to avoid “as little disruption to others as possible."
He also highlighted how members of the Contact Tracing team had given conflicting answers when students of his class contacted them.
One said that Victoria College had given the team a list of the entire Sixth Form as Direct Contacts, and that there had been “a huge mess up as to who was and wasn't direct contacts."
The student himself spoke to Contact Tracing and says he was told that schools had been able to decide on who are and who aren't direct contacts. “This legally has no merit, and it should not be up to unqualified teachers to make decisions of this scale,” he claimed.
“All this time, the school insisted they were the ones in the hands of contact tracing; whilst contact tracing insists it was the other way around.”
Pictured: The student said there had been confusion over whether students should get tested or not.
He said confusion ensued as the school wasn’t made aware that all students had been treated as direct contacts and were therefore expecting indirect contacts to come back to school on Monday.
“I was then told by a teacher this morning [Friday 20 November] that the school cannot communicate with students and parents on the subject without the Government authorising it,” he added. “Therefore, it seems there has been a massive miscommunication at the top, as to what the policy and was what was being communicated.”
The student also said there had been confusion over whether students should get tested or not, and how many times.
“Some have been told to have two tests, some have been told to have three tests, some have been told to get tests but the testing team didn't know whether they needed to isolate?!” he said.
Students allegedly also received differing information about whether they had to isolate or not, and whether they were able to appeal the decision or not.
“Contact Tracing were then rung up to clear this up, and they said they were appalled that some students hadn't been told to isolate; risking helpless students to large fines as a result of a government mistake."
Describing “a massive miscommunication at the top, as to what the policy and was what was being communicated”, the student asked for more clarity on the situation on behalf of his whole class.
Express has contacted the Government and is awaiting the answers.
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