The purpose of this document is to provide clear and helpful guidance for the safe operation through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in Kilberry National School.
It provides key messages to minimise the risk of COVID-19 for staff, pupils, families and the wider community while recognising the importance of education for the health and wellbeing of pupils and society as a whole.
This document focuses on the practical steps which staff will take to minimise the risk of the introduction of infection into our school while recognising that no interpersonal activity is without risk of transmission of infection at any time.
This is a living document that involves all stakeholders as we work together towards a safe return to school on August 27th.
The school has a responsibility to make every effort to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all members of our school community – children, parents and staff. This plan has been formulated to better ensure that the school can exercise that duty of care.
In line with public health advice and guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills, it is preferable for all children to return to school for all five days of the school week and for a full school day. This plan has been formulated to achieve that aim.
It is not possible to eliminate the risk of infection. However, with the co-operation of all members of our school community, it is possible to minimise the risk of the virus being introduced to school and the consequent risk of its spread.
Some of the practicalities of the proposed actions will be inconvenient but with the co-operation, the flexibility and goodwill of all the school management will be enabled to ensure the plan can be implemented.
All children return to school and classes operate within a bubble system
The school is split into 2 groups. Group 1: Junior Infants to 2nd Class and Group 2: 3rd to 6th class will share break times and the school yard. The day will include staggered break times. Each class bubble will be required to remain in their zone for the duration of the break. Children will not be permitted to bring footballs, basketballs, toys etc. to school. Instead a selection of equipment will be provided for each class group.
Social Distancing: There is no social distancing requirement in classrooms from Junior Infants to 2nd Class. Within each class from 3rd to 6th, children will be seated at 1m apart or in pods with a 1m distance between pods. Teachers will consider the best layout of tables in line with the needs of the pupils within their class and the space available. (Department of Education has provided sample layouts for consideration)
Hand sanitiser will be available at all entry points and in all class and support rooms
1. Induction Training
All staff will undertake and complete Covid-19 Induction Training prior to returning to school. The aim of such training is to ensure that staff have full knowledge and understanding of the following:
Latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health;
What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms of Covid-19 while at school;
Outline of the Covid-19 response plan. Staff will be kept fully informed of the control measures in place in the school and their duties and responsibilities in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and will be updated with any changes to the control measures or guidance available from the public health authorities.
2. Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)
In order to return to the workplace, staff will complete a Return to Work (RTW) form. A RTW form will be completed and returned 3 days before returning to work. The principal will also provide details of the Induction Training for completion by staff and details of any additional health and safety measures in place in the school to facilitate the staff member’s return to the school facility.
Signage outlining the signs and symptoms of COVID19 and to support good hand and respiratory hygiene will be displayed across the school. The Department will provide printed posters to schools, with age appropriate key health messages – hand washing, sneeze and cough etiquette etc.
4. Dates of re-opening
We will implement a careful and staged approach to the school re-opening to allow for new procedures to be imbedded and to manage a successful and safe re-opening.
Thursday 27th August:
School will open to admit:
Junior Infants (Junior Infant Pupils will go home at 12pm until Friday 11th September as is the usual procedure)
Friday 28th August:
School will open for:
Monday 31st August: Re-open for All pupils
5. Morning Routine: School Drop- Off Procedures
Arrangements for dropping off/collecting pupils must be arranged to encourage physical distancing of 2m where possible. Walking/cycling to school is encouraged where possible. In order to avoid congregation at the school gates where physical distancing may not be respected, we have developed the following plan.
School will open at 8:50am to begin receiving pupils. Pupils will be admitted straight into their classrooms. Teachers will be in their rooms to welcome pupils at this time. Support Staff will monitor drop off points and ensure pupils proceed to their classrooms and do not gather in groups outside of their respective class bubble. Class begins as normal at 9am.
A prerequisite to the safe and orderly management of the morning drop off system is parental co-operation. Pupils cannot be left at the school prior to 8.50am. If arriving before this time, pupils must wait with parent/guardian in the car. Staff will not be in a position to admit pupils into the school building before 8.50am.
Junior/Senior Infants-Will enter through their classroom door at front of school building. Parents are encouraged to park in the car park and walk their child along the path and enter through gate at the Infant Door.
1st/2nd Class-Enter through their classroom door at front of building.
3rd/4th Class-Enter through side gate as normal and enter school building through back door (Normal Yard Door)
5th/6th –Enter through side gate as normal and will enter school building through entrance at ‘prefab’.
Parents are asked to observe a drop and go system where appropriate e.g. for pupils from 1st class upwards and avoid congregating in the carpark. Parents who walk younger children to their classrooms will be not be permitted into the school building or cloakroom area and will be asked to exit through the small gate at Infant End of school and walk along pathway back to carpark.
6. Hand Hygiene:
Increased hand hygiene will be observed and timetabled in all classrooms. We have upgraded the hygiene and toilet areas in all classrooms to meet these requirements.
Children will be asked to sanitise upon entering school building (Sanitisers to be located at all entry points and in classrooms)
Children need to ensure they wash their hands after using the toilet
After coming in from the yard
At the Transition between lessons where there is use of shared equipment (ipads/instruments)
While the school will provide hand sanitisers/paper towels etc, parents are asked to provide their child/children (from first class upwards) with a small bottle of hand sanitiser and hand wipes for personal use. The infant teacher will facilitate hand hygiene requirements in the infant classroom.
There will be an enhanced cleaning regime in place the school with almost double the cleaning hours as before. School and classrooms will be cleaned daily Monday-Friday.
7. New Lunch time arrangements
Staggered break times
In order to minimise contact between class groups, there will be a staggered approach to breaks. Two classes will share use of the playground and areas will be zoned so there is minimal interaction between groups. The guidelines suggest that while older children are required to social distance in the classroom, there is no requirement to do so while outside at playtime but must remain separated from other class ‘bubbles’.
Staff supervision duties will increase in order to manage this staggered break system.
Each class will enter and exit the building at different points.
Junior Infants- 2nd Class will take their lunch breaks together and yard will be zoned to minimise contact between the two classes.
Junior -2nd will have 2×20 minute breaks throughout the day, from 10.20am-10.40am and from 12pm-12.20pm with first and second class to take an additional outside movement break and room ventilation break at 1.45pm.
3rd-6th Class will share yard and will have allocated areas in which to play.
Break times will be 10.45-11am and 12.30-1pm with an additional staggered movement and room ventilation break at 2pm.
Children will not be permitted to bring their own basketballs/ footballs/toys to school. Yard storage boxes will be placed on yard with basketballs/footballs for school use for each class bubble. We hope to set up an additional basketball area with freestanding basketball nets.
Toilets during break: Children will be given time before going to yard for each break to eat and use the toilet and for hand sanitising. Toilets in the main corridor will be colour coded and allocated to each class bubble.
8. School Collection/Pick up
Infants: Collected from Classroom door as usual at 1.40pm. Parents will be asked to observe strict social distancing.
1st and 2nd Class will be released at 2.30pm. This will allow a 10 minute window to avoid congestion at the school gates. Parents awaiting older siblings will be asked to wait in their cars for older children.
3rd/4th will exit by front door accompanied by their teacher at 2.40pm.
5th/6th will exit by side entrance accompanied by their teacher at 2.40pm
Parents are asked to wait behind the railings and to avoid congregating at the front door and side gate.
9. Collection of Children during the School Day
We would ask parents to arrange appointments where possible outside of school hours. Parents are reminded that the school has a part-time secretary only 3 days per week from 9am-12pm and a teaching principal, so a note should be sent in with your child to the class teacher in advance. If an adult has to collect a child during the course of the school day, the following arrangements will apply:
When the adult arrives at the school, they should ring the bell to alert that they have arrived, please do not enter the building and stand 1m clear of the doorway.
The child will be brought from their class to the front door by a member of staff.
The member of staff will record the names, time and date.
In line with Department guidelines, Maths, Literacy, P.E. and S.PH.E. are subject areas to be prioritised for the new academic year. We have introduced a new Wellbeing programme across all classes and included additional movement breaks for all classes in the afternoon. All teachers are dedicated and competent practitioners and will manage the transition of their pupils back to school in a supportive and reassuring way. Support timetables will be examined to optimise additional supports and teachers will use informal assessment to gauge the learning needs of all the pupils in their class.
11. Lead Worker Representative
In addition to the principal, each school is asked to identify a Lead Worker Representative and a Deputy Lead Worker Representative to liaise with staff and management. This will be one teaching and one non-teaching staff member. Ailish McLernon and Cecilia Crowley will assume these roles respectively.
12. Isolation Area
We have identified the following area that will be used as isolation rooms /areas if required.
-School Hall (Supply of facemasks/etc to be stored in the storeroom)
13. Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19
Pupils should not attend school if unwell, if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case. If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while in the school building, the following procedures will be implemented:
Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately.
We ask that parents have a plan in place for collecting children who may fall ill while at school. If a child falls ill and you are at work it is important that we have the contact details of the nominated emergency contact. Please update these details using Aladdin.
Isolation Room: School Hall (Zoned area)
In the event of more than one suspected case, the school hall has been zoned into 2 isolation areas
The child will be accompanied to the designated isolation area via the isolation route by a member of staff. The staff member will remain at least 2 metres away from the symptomatic child and will also make sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from the symptomatic child at all times.
If it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2 metres a staff member caring for a pupil should wear a face covering or mask. Gloves should not be used as the virus does not pass through skin.
A mask will be provided for the child presenting with symptoms. He/she should wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises.
An assessment will be made as to whether the child who is displaying symptoms can immediately be brought home by parents who can call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home.
The child presenting with symptoms should be advised to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and to put the tissue in the waste bag provided.
If the child is well enough to go home, the school will arrange for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible, and advise them to inform their GP by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used.
If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, the school will contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick child is a Covid-19 suspect.
Arrangements will be made for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area, work areas and classrooms involved.
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.
Please note that the staff of Kilberry NS are not medical professionals, at all times we act in the best interests of all the children in the school following the advice of the HSE and training provided by the Department of Education.
Children who should not attend school If your child is in one of the following categories, they should not attend school
Children who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Children who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with Covid-19. Children who have a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending.
Children who have been in contact with a person who has a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending.
Children with underlying health conditions who have been directed by a medical professional not to attend school.
Children who have returned home after travelling abroad must self-isolate for a period of 14 (other than Green Listed countries) days as per Government Guidelines.
Children who are generally unwell. We ask that all absences are explained using Aladdin Connect, please do not send in notes.
Supporting the Learning of Children who cannot attend school
If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time due to Covid, the class teacher (and/or the learning support teacher, where relevant) will suggest activities to support the child’s learning at home. These will be shared with parents through Aladdin Connect Homework Portal.
Impact of a Confirmed Case of Covid-19 in a Class
If the school is notified that a person in your child’s class has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19
Public health advice will be sought and followed.
Additional Information for Parents/Guardians
Please ensure at least one parent is set up for Aladdin Connect for communication.
Update emergency contacts and have a plan in place should your child fall ill and need to be collected urgently.
Make sure to update your child’s GP contact details on Aladdin. Entry to school building will be restricted for all parents/guardians and visitors and will be by appointment only. You can contact the school office on 059-8638448 or email Kilberry.email@example.com
Visiting Adults will be asked to wear a face covering if required to come into the school and it is highly recommended that all adults wear a face covering while on school grounds.
Book Bills: Book bills can be paid via Aladdin e-payments and a payment by instalments option is also available online. We strongly encourage parents to use our online system. If you need to pay in cash or by cheque, please place the money in a sealed envelope with your child’s name and class on the outside. Your child can hand this to their class teacher on the first day back. Please do not attend the school office. This year, more than ever due to the additional costs schools are facing, we will not be in a financial position to supply books to pupils where bills are outstanding. We appreciate your co-operation in this regard.
Use of Materials: Children in the Infant classroom will not be required to bring a pencil case to school. All materials, pencils, crayons etc will be provided by the school and their teacher will have individual supplies and clearly labelled boxes for each child.
1st Class-6th Class-Children will be asked to leave their pencil case in school each day to minimise movement of materials between school and home. Please label all belongings as children will not be permitted to share materials.
Please cover all of your child’s books/copies in clear contact paper so that they can be wiped clean each day.
While the school will provide hand sanitiser/paper towels/soap etc, we ask parents to provide their child/children with a small bottle of hand sanitiser and hand wipes for personal use.
Each class teacher will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that any shared items are cleaned, and quarantined before being used by another pupil.
Each child from 1st class up will be provided with an individual box for their copies/pencil case and books.
Full Attendance Awards will be suspended for the coming year in line with Public Health advice and the ‘Stay at Home if Unwell’ regime. Children will still be expected to attend school regularly when they are not ill and we are still required to report
non-attendance to Tusla. The Full Attendance award will be replaced for the coming year with the ‘Responsible Student’ award which will reward good hand hygiene/proper cough etiquette/adherence to school and classroom safety measures.
Children will continue to wear full uniform and school tracksuit on allocated days. Please ensure your child changes out of their school clothes when they arrive home.
First Aid: Children will be treated for minor first aid such as cuts & scrapes, plasters will be used where necessary. Ice packs will be given only when absolutely necessary, for minor bumps paper towels will be run under cold water which children can dispose of once they are feeling better. In the event of bumps to the head parents will receive a courtesy call.
Special Educational Needs & Learning Support
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 within the confines of a bubble in so much as possible.
Children with the greatest need will be prioritised when allocating available resources.
Where a support teacher is working alongside a class teacher in a classroom, both teachers must be mindful of maintaining social distance from one another.
Where children receive support in one of the SET rooms, social distancing of 1 metre will be maintained between each child in the group.
The tables and chairs in SET rooms will be wiped clean in between different groups attending
We thank you for your continued support and understanding. We want to make sure that all children can return to school safely and we take the necessary precautions to keep our school open.