Downloading the coronavirus tracing app is a 'personal choice' for teachers in South Ayrshire, said the council.

Ayrshire teachers have been given different advice on use of the Protect Scotland app whilst in schools, depending on the council they work for.

After a letter instructing teachers in Aberdeen to switch off the app was revealed to the BBC, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the app should not be turned off if you have your phone.

The letter indicated staff had been told to self-isolate when public health colleagues with ‘knowledge about the mitigations’ said there had been no need to do so.

It stated: “Please ask staff in your schools to disable the Test and Trace app while working in school”.

Although North Ayrshire Council (NAC) said they have not advised against using the Protect Scotland app in schools, East Ayrshire Council (EAC) has encouraged employees to make use of it and would ‘under no circumstances’ advise them to switch it off.

South Ayrshire Council (SAC) said downloading the app was a ‘personal choice’ and that when phones are stored in lockers they will work with colleagues in public health to ‘adopt a commonsense approach’.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We shouldn’t be asking people to switch off the app, in my view, when they have their phone with them. That’s defeating the purpose of Protect Scotland. We should be encouraging people.”

Public Health Scotland said it had not issued any national guidance.

The EIS teaching union said, where teachers were leaving phones in secure lockers or in staff bases whilst they were teaching elsewhere, it was acceptable to turn it off. However, where someone keeps the phone in person, it saw no reason for the app to be switched off.

A spokesperson for NAC said: “We have not advised against using the Protect Scotland app in our schools.”

An EAC spokesperson said: “East Ayrshire Council has advised all employees to use the Protect Scotland app and under no circumstances, would an employee be advised to switch the app off.

A SAC spokesperson said: “It is a personal choice to download and use the app.

“In a work situation however, staff will not normally take their personal phones into a class. When they are stored in a staff area they may be in a locker beside another phone.

“The phones may be in close proximity but their owners are not. We will continue to work closely with colleagues in public health and adopt a commonsense approach.”