Back to School Covid Plan

School will re-open for all pupils on Thursday 27th August 2020

Usual School Hours

8.50 a.m.-2.30 p.m. First to Sixth

Drop Off and Collection Times

To help with reducing the amount of traffic around the school gates, children are asked to walk/cycle/scoot to school if it is at all possible.

If at all possible we request that adults not to come onto the school grounds or into the school building unless it is essential. We appreciate that dropping off the 1st to 3rd Class pupils to the door is essential, but for the older pupils a drop off at the school gate is desirable. Working together we hope to be able to progress the reopening in as safe a manner as possible for all.

We would ask all parents to familiarise themselves with the following drop-off and collection routines for the safe delivery and collection of pupils from school.  Please be patient as we endeavour to embed these necessary precautionary and protective practices at the beginning of the school year.

It is imperative that adults do not come within 2m of each other parents do not try to have meetings with members of staff in the playground at drop-off and collection times – meetings between parents and teachers can only take place by prior arrangement (This may have to be more restrictive depending on guidance – it is quite possible that the recommendation will be for remote meetings/telephonic communications.)

Moving through the campus

When parents and pupils are entering and leaving the school grounds, they are asked to keep to the left.  If an obstruction is in their way(e.g. a parent and a buggy coming the other direction), they are asked to stand to the side and wait until the obstruction has passed. 

Drop-off Plan

8.30-8.50 a.m.    Pupils may enter this school during these times. From the Gardiner’s Hill side, all pupils enter through pedestrian gate and come down the main pathway to the Infant door. They then walk along the front of the school building along the designated path near the infant windows to use the Girls School Main Door entrance. Children who use the Ballyhooley road entrance come up the steps and cross the yard to the Girls’ School Main Entrance.  If there is a queue, pupils are asked to line up by the wall along the yellow designated markings on the ground.

Please note that First Class pupils will begin at 9.15 a.m. on the morning of Thursday 27th August and Friday 28th August. On those mornings, Ms Landers will collect her pupils from the main door at that time.  Ms Linehan will collect her pupils from the door which is opposite the main entrance to the secondary school (it is up some steps, just beyond the entrance to the PreSchool).

Upon entry to the school, children will sanitise their hands at the entrance and go directly to their classrooms on arrival. Other staff members (including Special Education Teachers, SNAs and the Principal) will be available outside and inside the building to receive the children and to help them to their classrooms.

Collection Plan

2.30 p.m: Teachers will bring their pupils to the assigned door.

The assigned doors are as follows:

  • Pupils in 1st, 4th and 6th class (Room 1) will exit the building via the main blue door.
  • Pupils in 3rd, 5th and 6th class (Room 16) will exit the building via the Old Montessori Door which is around the building near the new prefabs in the secondary school.
  • Pupils in 2nd class will exit from the door that is across from the main entrance to the secondary school.

Pupils in 1st to 3rd are to be collected by their parent/guardian unless the class teacher is given a note to say otherwise. Pupils in 4th to 6th will go immediately to their respective gates.

Parents and Guardians who walk to the school to collect children are asked to maintain a social distance outside the school door.

This system will apply rain, hail or shine so please make sure that your child comes to school prepared for the weather!

Breaktimes

The DES guidelines state that the risk of transmission from contact with outside surfaces or play areas is low.

10.40-10.55      Children eat before they go out to yard.

                          Break for 2nd and 3rd Classes in the Backyard. 

                          Break for 4th and 6th Classes (Room 1) in Front Yard.

                          Each Class will take a zone and will rotate the zone daily.

11.05-11.20      Children eat before they go out to yard.

                          Break for 1st Classes in Front Yard

                         Break for 5th Class and 6th Class (Room 16) in Back Yard.

12.30-12.50         Break for 2nd and 3rd Classes in the Backyard. 

                        Break for 4th and 6th Classes (Room 1) in Front Yard.

                        Children eat when they come in from yard.

                        Each Class will take a zone and will rotate the zone daily.

 1.00-1.20             Children eat before they go out to yard.

                        Break for 1st Classes in Front Yard

                        Break for 5th Class and 6th Class (Room 16) in Back Yard.

Yard Rules

1.            1st, 4th and 6th Room 1 use the front yard.

2.            2nd, 3rd , 5 and 6th Room 16 use the back yard.

3.            No toys, books or food allowed.

4.            All children must go to the yard at lunchtime. Exceptions to this rule must be sanctioned by the principal

5.            Children walk in single file on the right hand side of the stairs

When the bell rings:

1.            Each child freezes

2.            Classes are called, and line up in their pods.

3.            Teachers collect their classes at the door and classes walk back into the school in silence

On wet days, when children cannot go outside, they must remain seated in their classroom. Children must get permission from the teacher on duty to go out to the toilet.

Yard Supervision             

A rota will be organised based on Class Bubbles and the SETs allocated to those classes.

Changes to Classroom and School Layout and to School Routines

The DES guidelines recognise that a common-sense approach is needed in our Primary schools. To that end, every effort will be made to limit interaction within classrooms, to limit contact between class groups and to limit the sharing of common facilities.

The children and their teachers will work in Class Bubbles. A Class Bubble is a grouping which stays apart from other classes as much as possible. The aim of the system within the school is that class groupings mix only with their own class from arrival at school in the morning until the children go home at the end of the school day. See also the link on the school website regarding the setting up of the pods.

Team Teaching/Special Education Teachers/Special Needs Assistants

Staff members (particularly Learning Support Teachers and SNAs) can rotate between areas/classes but this will be minimized where possible. When rotation occurs, agreed sanitising routines will be observed.

In keeping with our Special Education policy, learning support will be provided by a blended approach of in-class support and withdrawal. The provision of support will be organised to ensure our support teachers will work as far as possible, within the confines of a Group.

First Classes        Group 1               

Second and Third Classes              Group 2               

Fourth classes and Sixth class (Room 1) Group 3               

Fifth class and Sixth  Class(Room 16)        Group 4               

First to Third Class

It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors so there is no requirement for children from First Infants to Third Class to maintain a physical distance within their Class Bubble however the classes where practicable will endeavour to have all classes engage with the pod system.

Fourth Class to Sixth Class

Children from Fourth Class to Sixth Class will be arranged in Pods within their Class Bubbles, with a maximum of 6 pupils per Pod. As far as possible, each Pod will be at least 1 metre distance from the next Pod. All unnecessary furniture will be removed from these classrooms to create as much space as possible.

Corridors and Stairwells

Briefly passing someone in a hall is very unlikely to contribute significantly to the spread of infection if people do not have physical contact and avoid informal group discussions.

We will observe our usual practice of keeping to the left when on the stairs and in the corridors.

Additional Measures to Limit Interactions

Children will go straight to their classrooms from the yard and will not congregate in the corridors or hallways.

While we will all be delighted to see each other again, hand shaking and hugging will not be allowed.

Toilets

For the children on the top corridor, the toilet routine will consist of sanitising their hands leaving the classroom and go the bathroom and wash their hands.

First Class will use the toilet block on the first floor.

Second Class, Third Class, Fifth Class and Sixth Class (Room 16)  will use the toilets in their classrooms.

Fourth Class and Sixth Class Room 1 will use the toilet block on the First Floor.

Timetables will be drawn up so that only one class group at a time is present in the toilet block on the First Floor.

Every classroom has hand sanitiser by the door and a soap dispenser by the sink.

Lunches

Teachers will distribute the lunches in the classroom.

A healthy lunch of fruit and water or milk is provided as part of our Health Promoting Policy. Pupils may opt out of taking a sandwich with permission from the Principal so the principal can update the records.

Pupils are not to share their food or drinks with other children.

Milk will be delivered to the classroom.

Children will eat their lunches at their desks, as per our usual practice and bring their rubbish home.

Books, Copies, Pencils, etc.

Children should use their own books, pens, pencils, etc. and as far as possible should not share with other pupils.

Where levelled readers or core text books are being shared between classes, a minimum of 72 hours must be observed before passing books between pupils.

Homework

A whole school approach will be addressed at the staff meeting on Monday 24th August.

Uniforms/Tracksuits

There is no guidance or advice to say that school uniforms or tracksuits should be washed every day and this is probably not practical for most families.

We will follow our usual practice in relation to uniforms and tracksuits. Uniforms should be worn every day, except on P.E. days, or when otherwise requested by teachers.

As a school we strongly advise that children should wear their school uniforms or tracksuits only for school related activities.  Uniforms or tracksuits should be taken off straight after the child arrives home from school for the day. They should not be worn in after-school facilities, shops, during after-school activities, etc.

Office

There is a contactless payment system has been set up to minimise the amount of cash that needs to be handled.

Parents coming to the school to collect their child early must check in via the intercom or phone the office if they prefer. Their child will be brought to the door.

Teaching and Learning

As a staff, we are very aware that the children have been away from school since March 12th. We appreciate the time and effort that went into Home Learning, and we recognise the challenges that Home Learning presented for all families.

Each child will be a different place in relation to his/her learning, and we wish to assure you that staff will take that into consideration when planning for Teaching and Learning during the 2020/2021 school year.

The Department of Education and Skills has published Curriculum guidelines for us, and we ask you to trust our experience and professional expertise as we work with all the children during the return to school.

Supporting the Learning of Children who Cannot Attend School

We are still awaiting guidance from the Education Welfare Board on this. If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time, the class teacher (and/or the Special Education Teacher, where relevant) will provide work to support the child’s learning at home and this will be shared with parents/guardians. Ms Crosse, Deputy Principal will liaise with families around this.

Masks

Under the current guidelines, our children are not required to wear masks or face coverings. If a parent requires their child to wear a mask, a face covering is available from the office in line with the school uniform.  

The current guidelines do not recommend that staff wear masks or face coverings as these would hide facial expressions and make communication with the children more difficult. All staff will wear full face visors and some will wear a mask when in close contact with a child.  Visors and a set of disposable face masks will be provided to all staff members.

Hygiene and Cleaning

The Back of the school journal shows the examples of good hygiene when coughing and sneezing using an image from the Health Promotion Unit. Handwashing leaflets will be sent home with every child.  Covid signs and symptoms posters will be on display around the school.

Sanitiser dispensers have been installed throughout the school e.g. 3 at the Main Entrance, 1st the Montessori Door, at the office and in each classroom.

Warm water and soap is available in all the cloakrooms, and at each sink in the classrooms,  staff toilets and staff room.

Hand hygiene will be promoted and encouraged, and parents/guardians are asked to support the school in reinforcing this message. A leaflet from the Health Promotion Unit on Hand Washing will be sent home with every child and staff member. Signs will also be displayed in the toilets.

In accordance with the DES guidelines, the school will be thoroughly cleaned at least once per day. Particular attention will be focused on frequently touched surfaces – door handles, handrails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities.

Illness and Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19

We love to see all of our children at school every day. However, under the current circumstances, parents/guardians must keep children at home if they display any Covid-19 Symptoms. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html

A designated isolation area has been created in the Room 17.

The HSE advice will be followed at all times with regard to suspected cases bearing in mind GDPR guidelines. The Protocol is that until a case is diagnosed, the HSE will then inform all close contacts.  We will await further guidance on this.

If a pupil displays symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, the following procedure will be implemented:

The pupil will be accompanied to the isolation area. A distance of 2 meters will be maintained. If this is not possible, the person accompanying the child must wear a face covering.

If a pupil has a suspected case, parents/guardians will be contacted immediately by telephone. To help us in this regard, Mams and Dads are asked to make sure that their contact details are kept up to date at all times.

A face covering will be provided to the child who is symptomatic.

The child who is symptomatic should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects.

If the child is well enough to go home, arrangements will be made for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible.

Anyone who is symptomatic is advised to inform their general practitioner by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used to travel home.

If the child is too unwell to go home or advice is required, the school will contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick person is a Covid-19 suspect.

The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed and staff and pupil confidentiality is essential at all times.

Plan for the possibility of remote learning if the school/part of the school is advised to close by HSE

Each teacher will have an emergency kit of photocopies with two weeks work available.

The Guidance from the Department will be followed.

Traffic analysis on the website showed that 73.9% of the traffic this year was through the use of the mobile phone so this needs to be considered in the planning and setting of work for students.

All children will be sent home with all their school books.

A link to a shared Google Folder per class will be set up beforehand on the school website.

Each week of the school closure, the class teacher will post a PDF file for the students. The title this file is _Class.Ms_Week Beginning Monday___ eg 1stClass Ms Murphy Week Beginning 1st September 2020   This file will include a letter to the children, a weekly timetable and a day by day list of work covering all areas of the curriculum to do.

This list may include links to video instructional tutorials by the teachers using LOOM or Youtube videos from the school’s Youtube Channel, sound recordings links from the class teacher as well as direct links to specific non-subscription webpages or screenshots of webpages will be used. 

Each teacher will take responsibility for uploading the PDF document by Friday evening of the week before.  This will give a chance for parents to print off the document where circumstance allow.

Feedback and Assessment will include the use of self-assessment, rubrics, Two Stars and a Wish, portfolios, project work, regular phone calls between staff and families as well as the use of a class specific email address. Where projects are set for pupils, specific themes are identified and rubrics are included for the children.

SET teachers will support their pupils learning through shared learning files as well. SNA’s will maintain telephone contact with their pupils to provide motivational support.

School Meals Provision

During the last lockdown, the school meals were available to every pupil in the school. The Community Garda supported us with the first delivery and AN POST delivered the rest of the deliveries. Should the lockdown happen again, it is hoped that the school could offer the same service to all our pupils again.

Communication with Parents

Unfortunately as lockdown has proven, the media and speculation get in the way of the truth. The school contact details are listed on the inside cover of the school journal. The phone is constantly monitored along with the office email. Parents can access the school website in order to receive the correct information about the school.

The textaparent service is also used. Parents/Guardians must nominate one number to receive messages from this service. It is the Parent/Guardians responsibility to ensure that this number is kept up to date.