COVID-19

General measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in school

It is vital that everyone takes care and responsibility for ensuring with limit the risk of Covid-19 spreading in our school. Therefore, it is critical that we collectively practice the following:

  • Children and Parents returning from overseas: “Government policy, which is based on official public health advice advises against non-essential travel overseas for everyone. It is a requirement for anyone coming into Ireland, from locations other than those on the “Green List” to restrict their movements for 14 days” [Department of Education]. Therefore, if you have been overseas in a non “Green List” country please do not come to school until the 14 day quarantine has passed.
  • Children and staff should not attend school if they have a confirmed case of Covid-19
  • Children and staff should not attend school if they have symptoms of Covid-19 such as
  1. High temperature
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  4. Loss of smell or taste
  • Children and staff should not attend school if they have been identified by the HSE as a contact for a person with Covid-19
  • Parents of children and staff should notify the Principal immediately if symptoms have been identified.
  • Everyone strictly follows the procedures outlined within this document.
  • Do not gather or congregate on school grounds.
  • Parents dropping off or collecting children must maintain a 2 metre distance.
  • As the weather is extremely changeable, everyone is reminded to dress for this as we will be unable to deviate from the drop off and collection plan outlined below, regardless of the weather.
  • Unscheduled meetings with teachers at drop off or collection time will not be permitted as the focus is to stop people gathering.
  • Meetings with parents and visitors will be encouraged to take place via telephone.
  • Face to face meetings within the school building will only be held with the Principal’s prior approval and where they are deemed necessary.
  • Unscheduled appointments at the school office are not permitted.
  • Scheduled visitors entering the school building will need to wear a face covering and perform hand hygiene with hand sanitiser.
  • All visitors will have to complete Contact Tracing log.
  • All payments for resources etc. should be done electronically. In cases where this may not be possible, prior arrangement with the School Secretary must be made.

Hygiene and Cleaning

  • Children and staff to follow good respiratory hygiene when coughing or sneezing.
  • Children and staff to follow good hand hygiene and there will be posters displayed throughout the school promoting this.
  • Hand sanitiser has been mounted at the door of each classroom in the school and in the common areas
  • Children will be asked to perform hand hygiene: on arrival at school, before eating or drinking, after using the toilet, after playing outdoors, when their hands are physically dirty, when they cough or sneeze.
  • Soap and disposable towels are in every classroom for washing hands
  • All staff will have cleaning products and additional sanitiser for the classrooms
  • The school has engaged cleaners to undertake additional cleaning every day in order to disinfect classrooms and common areas etc.
  • If a child requires First Aid, the staff will wear a visor and gloves whilst tending to any injury that might occur.

Dealing with a suspected case of COVID-19

We will be following the Department of Education’s procedure outlined under section 8 of the Covid-19 Response Plan for the Safe and sustainable reopening of Primary and Special Schools.

School arrival procedures

Children and Parents
  • Children entering the building in the morning will be on a staggered basis to avoid crowding.
  • All children will enter the building via the usual entry door beside the staffroom / garden.
  • Children will enter the building from 8:25am based on the alphabetical order of their surname.
  • Children will go directly to their classrooms and sit at their desks.
  • The children will place their bags under their desk.
  • The children will place their coats on the back of their chair.

 

Arrival times for children by surname alphabetical order:

We have chosen this entry strategy as we have been instructed by the Department NOT to begin the day by asking children to stand in lines. In addition, as the weather can be very changeable this plan is the approach that works for wet days too and prevents children standing in the rain longer than they would have to or resulting in a rush of children entering the building all at once.

We are aware that some parents carpool or drop other children outside of their family unit, to school. In those cases, all children being dropped off by an individual can enter the school at the same time e.g. if children named David Egan and Amy Ryan and being dropped together both should enter the building at 8:25am.

The main purpose of us going with Alphabetical order is to accommodate the many families who attend where siblings bring their brother or sister to school.

Ultimately, we are trying to prevent unnecessary gatherings on campus and want the children to file into the building each morning in as calm and physically distanced fashion as possible. We will be sensitive and accommodating to every reasonable circumstance but the success of entry and exit into the building will depend on common sense and patience from everyone to ensure we do not have 600 children all trying to get in at the same time! If things don’t work out with this strategy, we will adapt and change it as needs be.

Surnames starting with :

A,B,C,D,E -> 8:25am

F,G,H,I,J,K,L -> 8:30am

M,N,O,P,Q,R -> 8:35am

S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z -> 8:40am

Departure procedures at the end of the school day

Departure from school will be on a staggered basis like the morning however, this will be based on class level rather than alphabetical order. The older classes will leave first and will be encouraged to make their way home straight away to avoid congregating on the campus. This should leave room for parents to collect younger children an maintain adequate distance from other people.

For older children collecting younger siblings at home time they can leave their classrooms at the times specified below and wait for their sibling outside of that siblings classroom.

Departure time

Class

Exit point

1.10pmHannah’s Junior Infant ClassMain door beside school office
1.10pmShauna’s Junior Infant ClassSide door beside staff room
1.20pmPaul’s Senior Infant ClassMain door beside school office
1.20pmCiara’s Senior Infant ClassSide gate beside garden
1.20pmEmma O’R’s Senior Infant ClassSide door beside staff room
2.00pmSeamus’ 6th ClassMain door beside school office
2.00pmGerry’s 6th ClassSide gate beside garden
2.00pmBaetán’s 6th ClassSide door beside staff room
2.05pmFrancis’ 5th ClassSide gate beside garden
2.05pmDenis’ 5th ClassMain door beside school office
2.05pmKaren’s 5th ClassSide door beside staff room
2.10pmJean’s 4th ClassSide door beside staff room
2.10pmJodie’s 4th ClassSide gate beside garden
2.10pmSeán’s 4th ClassMain door beside school office
2.15pmLouise’s 3rd ClassMain door beside school office
2.15pmShane’s 3rd ClassSide door beside staff room
2.15pmNiamh C’s 3rd ClassSide gate beside garden
2.20pmShona’s 2nd ClassMain door beside school office
2.20pmKathryn’s 2nd ClassSide door beside staff room
2.20pmNaomi’s 2nd ClassSide gate beside garden
2.25pmBríd’s 1st ClassMain door beside school office
2.25pmElaine’s 1st ClassSide gate beside garden
2.25pmMallorie’s 1st ClassSide door beside staff room

Early collections, late arrivals and children with appointments

Whilst we would strongly encourage all children to arrive to school on time and to leave at the end of the scheduled school day, we are aware that on occasion an issue or appointment may occur. In those incidents we would ask that you do the following:

  • Early collection from school: notify the teacher and telephone the office beforehand with the time & date of collection so we can have the child prepared to go.
  • Late arrival: ring the office and notify the secretary that your child will be late.

Collecting children during the course of the day for medical and other appointments: notify the teacher and office the day before with the time of collection and estimated time of return for your child.

School break times

In order to keep different classes from coming into contact with one another on yard we will be following the Department’s recommendations to have split break times. The playground will be split into sections throughout the day and classes will play with their classmates, in their designated area only.

Break times will be split into two separate 20 minute breaks on the basis below.

Group A

Play area/Pod number

Times

6th Class Gerry1 (a)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

6th Class Seamus1 (b)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

4th Class Jodie2 (a)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

4th Class Sean2(b)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

2nd Class Naomi3 (a)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

2nd Class Kathryn3 (b)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

Junior Infants Hannah4 (a)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10

Junior Infants Shauna4 (b)Break 1: 9:50 – 10:10

Break 2: 11:50 – 12:10


Group BPlay area / Pod numberTimes
6th Class Baetán1 (a)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

5th Class Denis1 (a)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

4th Class Jean2 (a)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

3rd Class Louise2 (b)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

2nd Class Shona3 (a)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

1st Class Elaine3 (b)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

Senior Infants Paul4 (a)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35

Senior Infants Ciara4 (b)Break 1: 10:15 – 10:35

Break 2: 12:15 – 12:35


Group CPlay area / Pod numberTimes
5th Class Karen1 (a)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

5th Class Francis1 (b)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

3rd Class Shane2 (a)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

3rd Class Niamh C2 (b)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

1st Class Mallorie3 (a)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

1st Class Bríd3 (b)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

Senior Infants Emma O’R4 (a)Break 1: 10:40 – 11:00

Break 2: 12:40 – 1:00

SetantaThe teachers and SNA’s will primarily use the designated play area outside of their classrooms separate to the main yard as they require it. They will also have use of the main playground outside of the above times listed for the other classes. If a child is integrating between Setanta and mainstream then they can play with their class at the times scheduled above.

Classroom Organisation & Layout

We will be following the classroom organisation and layout plan as recommended by the Department of Education which is extensive and can be viewed on our website or by googling Covid-19 Response Plan for the Safe and sustainable reopening of Primary and Special Schools.

Section 5.4 – Physical Distancing outlines the Department’s approach and provides links showing illustrated examples of how classes could be laid out. Once we have organised our rooms before reopening we will post / email pictures to you so you can get a better idea of what the classrooms will look like.

In terms of what the children can expect generally, the following will happen:

  • The tables and chairs will be set out to maximise physical distancing
  • Children will only mix with other children from the same classroom
  • The classrooms will be divided into sections / groups of physically distanced children
  • The children will work within those sections / groups as much as possible to avoid whole class interaction although this will not be possible all the time e.g. breaktimes.
  • Each section / group will have their books and materials organised independently from the other sections / groups.

School lunches

  • Lunches should be brought in sealed lunch boxes.
  • All waste should go back in the sealed lunch box and return home.
  • Any cutlery required should be brought in by the child and taken home. We will not be able to provide cutlery in the school.

Each child should bring their own drink to school as we cannot provide cups or glasses in the school.

Bringing in items from home

No toys or additional items outside of those for school based work should be brought into school for any reason.

Children with diagnosed medical conditions

There are some children who attend our school who have serious medical conditions diagnosed by a Doctor which could be further compromised by the spread of Covid-19. These parents will be contacted by the teacher prior to the school reopening to discuss your child’s education going forward.If your child has a serious medical condition diagnosed by a Doctor and you haven’t notified the school please notify the School Office.

Children wearing face coverings or visors in school

It is the Department’s recommendation that children under the age of 13 do not need to wear face coverings and this includes in school. However, we know that a lot of you have decided to get your children to wear face coverings / visors in public places and therefore, we will let you decide if you want your child to wear one while attending school and we will have no objection.

Hand sanitiser

As mentioned above, hand sanitiser will be wall mounted outside each room and the teacher will have a portable dispenser in the classrooms.

If parents / guardians chose to send their children into school with their own personal hand sanitiser then that is fine with us however, we would ask it is kept in a zip lock bag and that it is as small a dispenser as reasonably possible.

As it is not practicable for us to sanitise the hands of 600 children entering the building first thing in the morning without causing considerable delays and potential gatherings, we would ask that parents / guardians or children apply their own sanitiser before coming into the building. If this doesn’t happen we will have sanitiser available outside the entrance each morning but would ask people to maintain social distance and take turns using it.

Forgotten lunches / bags etc.

On occasion, children can forget their lunches, bags etc. and leave them in the car or at home by accident. If this happens and you would like to make sure they receive their belongings, please do the following:

  • Call the school office and let Julie know your child has forgotten something for school.
  • Let Julie know what time you will be dropping in with the belongings
  • In the reception area of the school, there will be disposable bags, markers, labels and a collection box.
  • Write your child’s name, class and teacher name on the label.
  • Put the belongings into the disposable bag
  • Put the completed label on the disposable bag
  • Put the bag in the collection box

Once you have left the building, Julie will organise for your child’s belongings to be delivered to the classroom.

Homework

Homework across the school will vary depending on the class level and also the priority needs of the class as determined by the class teacher although the focus will primarily be on reading, writing, maths and mental maths.

The biggest challenge is to ensure we can set meaningful homework without sending the text books home as they would have to be quarantined for 72 hours on their return to school before being used. To get around this we are going to :

  • limit the amount of text books going home for the purpose of homework. 
  • arrange some written homework to be sent on photocopied sheets.
  • some teachers will send home separate copybooks for homework.
  • use purchased ‘transition boxes’ for each class. These are plastic storage boxes which will be used by the children to place their homework into and the teachers will leave them there for 72 hours before opening them, correcting them and doing assessments.
  • use of Google Classroom where it is deemed appropriate. For those without access to a device or the internet at home the teacher will arrange a hardcopy to be given to your child.
  • have a continued focus on mental based homework.

Some teachers have started setting some homework as a trial already however, there will be whole school engagement once we return from our mid-term break. Whilst there will be a common approach to homework across the school, there will be differences in the type of work set by each individual teacher to cater for the needs of their particular class.