Pupils forced to isolate after Covid test result wrongly recorded as positive
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Pupils at a SEND school have been ordered to self-isolate after a coronavirus test result was wrongly recorded as positive.
An alert was sent out to staff and pupils at the Warren School, in Lowestoft, on Monday, warning them to self-isolate for 10 days after a negative test was incorrectly recorded as positive online.
Penny Harris, whose 16-year-old son Joe was born with fragile x syndrome and has the mental age of a two-year-old, claims parents are being "punished" as a result.
She said: "It is horrific and ludicrous.
"We cannot just leave our children at home on their own. These are high dependency children and people need to work.
"If it was positive, I would totally understand. There are seriously ill children there and Covid could run riot, but the test was negative so it doesn't make sense. There is no Covid there."
Miss Harris, who lives in Wheatacre and volunteers, said school and work offer essential respite for parents and carers.
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She said: "We cannot use our respite care because they say Joe needs to be isolating.
"There is no support available to us whatsoever. Who will be paying for his school dinners now?
"School is the one place we can get a respite knowing he is safe and secure.
"Now I cannot take him outside or leave him alone and I am being penalised and locked down too."
Ayuka Davies, a teaching assistant at a SEND school in Norwich, is now facing working into the summer holidays to avoid losing money after having to take 10 days off to look after her severely autistic son Kaito, 15.
She said: "I got the call from the Warren School at work on Monday, but I am a single parent and have no family nearby, so had to leave early.
"Luckily work have been very understanding, but as a foreign worker from Japan I put a lot of pressure on myself.
"Every day I try to work harder than anyone else.
"It is also very hard because the ratio in every school is very important and I cannot go to work even though I am capable.
"There are only five weeks until the summer holidays but there is so much to do, and some pupils are taking GCSEs so the pressure is really high on everyone and I am adding to it."
Miss Davies, who lives in Lowestoft, said Covid has been life-changing for her and her son.
She said: "I cannot leave him on his own but we have both tested negative, so it is very frustrating for me.
"My son is losing eight school days but interacting with other people and having a good routine is so important to him."
Headteacher Wallace Robinson confirmed the school had been in contact with Suffolk County Council daily since Monday morning.
He said: "They have discussed fully with us the circumstances, and have been very clear on the requirements given the information received through track and trace.
"These requirements are fully compliant with DFE and NHS protocols.
"SCC have confirmed they are happy with the actions we are taking and that we are fully compliant with the requirements they have communicated to us."
A spokesperson for public health at Suffolk County Council said: "We understand the concerns of parents and schools but our advice is fully in keeping with the guidelines from the government via NHS test and trace.
"When a person enters a LFT result as positive on the NHS website it triggers a series of actions including the notification for the individual to isolate and the instruction to obtain a confirmatory PCR test.
"The Suffolk Contact and Trace service are also informed of the result entry and proceed to make contact with the individual.
"When we contact individuals following notification of a positive LFT entry and it turns out they have incorrectly entered a negative result as positive, we advise the following: The individual needs to isolate along with their household and obtain a PCR test within 48 hours; Close contacts need to be identified and isolate for 10 days from the last date of contact. Once a negative PCR is obtained everyone can return."