Fáilte go dtí Scoil Náisiúnta Ioma

COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable operation of Emo N.S.

Parent Information

Dear parents,

I hope you and your family are well. We are looking forward to children settling back into school quickly after the holidays. The junior infants have made a wonderful start.

The purpose of this document is to inform parents about procedures and protocols pertaining to our return to school. I’m hopeful that this document will reassure parents so that in turn you can reassure your children that we will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition back into the classroom.

Procedures have been put in place in line with HSE and Department of Education and Skills advice and guidance. All members of the school community, irrespective of circumstance, are expected to adhere fully to the procedures put in place in an attempt to minimize the risk posed by Covid-19. It is critical that staff, pupils, parents and visitors are aware of, and adhere to, the control measures outlined and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements.

 

1.Aims:

 

Through the implementation of the practices and procedures as outlined in this policy our school community aims to:

 

  • Do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into our school.
  • Limit the spread of Covid-19, insofar as possible, within our school if it is introduced.
  • Detail for all members of our school community how our school will reopen for all students from the 27thof August and what the operation of our school will look like so as to be sustainable in a COVID-19 context.
  • Balance the need for a practical and sensible level of caution with the need to provide a supportive environment for teaching and learning.

 

  1. Covid 19 Policy Statement:

 

Our Covid -19 policy statement is available to view at this link:  https://emons.ie/covid-19-policy-statement/

 

2.Know the symptoms of Covid-19

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to know and recognise the

symptoms. They are:

High temperature

Cough

Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties

Loss of smell, of taste or distortion of taste

 

3.Minimizing the Risk of Introduction of COVID-19 into our school

As a school community we must do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into our school. If infection is not introduced it cannot be spread. The risk of spreading the infection once introduced exists in all interpersonal interactions; student-student, teacher-teacher and teacher-student and must be managed in all settings.

A range of essential control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of the spread of the Covid-19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of staff, pupils, parents and visitors, as far as possible, within the school environment. These control measures shall continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis.

It is critical that staff, pupils, parents and visitors are aware of, and adhere to, the control measures outlined and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements.

 

4.Practices and procedures.

4.1 Promoting awareness:

  • All members of our school community will actively promote awareness of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Signage informing members of the school community of the symptoms of Covid-19 and the need for social distancing are displayed at all access points to the school.
  • All members of the school community will embed in pupils the need for appropriate respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene.
  • Staff members will thoroughly clean and disinfect their work area before and after use each day.

 

4.2 Attendance at school:

  • Members of the school community who display symptoms of Covid-19 MUST NOT ATTEND or VISIT OUR SCHOOL and should immediately phone their doctor and follow HSE guidance on self-isolation;
  • Members of the school community MUST NOT ATTEND OR VISIT OUR SCHOOL if they have been identified by the HSE as a contact for person with COVID-19 and must follow the HSE advice on restriction of movement;
  • Staff and pupils that develop symptoms at school must promptly bring this fact to the attention of the Principal, Deputy Principal, as appropriate.
  • Staff and pupils must know the protocol for managing a suspected case of COVID-19 in school as detailed in Section 8 of the DES Guidelines.
  • Everyone entering the school building must perform hand hygiene using hand sanitiser. Children will carry their own pocket bottle of sanitiser.
  • Visits to the school by all persons other than staff and pupils will be by appointment only.  Appointments must be arranged in advance through the school office, by phone on 0578646868 or by e mail at secretary@emons.ie . The only entry to the school for adults is through the front door.
  • Each visitor to the school will be required to complete a Contact Tracing Log irrespective of the duration of the visit.
  • Each visitor to the school will be required to wear a face covering irrespective of the duration of the visit.
  • The only exceptions to this are:
  • Junior infant parents on Wednesday Aug 25th and Friday Aug 27th 2021 (also see 5.6 below)
  • In the case of pupils with additional educational needs, ONE parent/designated person can accompany pupils in these instances for assembly and dismissal. Parents/designated persons MUST practice physical distancing of 2m.
  • Physical distancing of 2m should be maintained between staff and all visitors to the school.
  • Physical distancing of 2m should be maintained between all adults when on school grounds.

4.3 Respiratory Hygiene

All members of our school community MUST practice and actively promote good respiratory hygiene at home and at school as this will help protect people around us from viruses such as flu and Covid-19.

Good respiratory hygiene entails:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Disposing of the used tissue immediately and safely into a nearby bin.
  • All classes will have bins for tissue only and these will have emptied at regular intervals throughout the day.

 

4.4 Hand Hygiene

  • All members of our school community MUST practice and actively promote effective hand hygiene at home and at school. Sanitisers are not a substitute for washing of hands and our teachers will introduce a schedule of hand washing for their class.
  • We request that parents provide their child with a pocket hand sanitiser that they can comfortably use and fit in their zip pocket. In particular, they will use this sanitiser each time they enter or re-enter the school. We encourage parents to get their child used to using a pocket bottle of sanitiser in advance of their return to school.

 

Staff and pupils must understand why hand hygiene is important as well as when and how to wash their hands.

  • Hand sanitisers are installed at appropriate locations throughout the school. Posters are displayed at each station showing effective hand washing technique.
  • HSE guidelines on handwashing are available at:

https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/how-to-wash-your-hands.html

  • All persons entering the school building must perform hand hygiene using their own sanitiser or the ones provided.

Hand hygiene can be achieved by hand washing or use of a hand sanitiser (when hands look clean).

4.5 Frequency of Hand Hygiene

Pupils and staff MUST 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.
    1. Physical Distancing
  • Maintaining physical distancing in the school environment is one of the key control measures to minimize the risk of the introduction and spread of COVID-19.

 

  • Physical distancing will be usefully applied in our school allowing for some flexibility when needed. It will be applied in a practical way that recognises that the learning environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue. Physical distancing in our school will look different across the various ages and stages of learning.

 

  • It is recognised that it is not always possible for staff to maintain physical distance from pupils and it is not appropriate that they would always be expected to do so where this could have a detrimental impact on the pupil i.e. if a child sustains an injury and requires first aid.
  • However, where possible staff should maintain a minimum of 1m distance and where possible 2m. They should also take measures to avoid close contact at face to face level such as remaining standing rather than sitting beside/crouching down.

 

  • All adult visitors to the school, as scheduled by appointment, MUST maintain a 2m distance from school staff.
  • Our school community is committed to the two principles of physical distancing, namely, increasing separation and decreasing interaction, as a means of minimising the risk of the introduction of Covid-19 to our school.

 

4.6 Increasing Separation

In order to minimise contact between pupils, insofar as possible, the school will operate the following procedures for arrival, dismissal, movement through the school and break times.

 

4.7 Arrival

Bubbles and Pods – What are they?

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.

Bubbles

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.

Pods

Children from Third Class to Sixth Class will be arranged in Pods ( small groups ) within their Class Bubbles. As far as possible, each Pod will be at least 1 metre distance from the next Pod. All unnecessary furniture has been removed from these classrooms to create as much space as possible.

Junior Infants to Second Class

It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors so there is no requirement for children from Junior Infants to Second Class to maintain a physical distance within their Class Bubble.( same as last year)

Third Class to Sixth Class

Children from Third Class to Sixth Class will be arranged in Pods within their Class Bubbles. As far as possible, each Pod will be at least 1 metre distance from the next Pod. All unnecessary furniture has been removed from these classrooms to create as much space as possible. ( same as last year)

 

4.8 Day 1 for Junior Infants

We are going to keep the same format for children arriving to school in the mornings. The gate will open at 8.35 as usual. If you are there before the gates open children must wait with their parents in their car (NO CONGREGATING AT THE GATES IN THE MORNING)

New Junior Infants will arrive to the front yard where their teacher will be there to meet them.

They will go home at 12.p.m. each day until Friday 3rd September. Parents of new junior infants may accompany their child to the front yard .

From Monday 6th September Junior Infants will finish their day at 1.30p.m.

 

4.9 Day 1 for senior infants to 6th

We are going to keep the same format for children arriving to school in the mornings. The gate will open at 8.35 as usual. If you are there before the gates open children must wait with their parents in their car (NO CONGREGATING AT THE GATES IN THE MORNING)

Children will make their way straight to their classroom on the first day taking care to use their pocket sanitiser to sanitise their hands before they enter the school. Staff will be there to remind them. Senior infants, first and second classes will use the front door only. Third to sixth classes will use the back door. Teachers from 3rd to 6th will show children to their selected seats (pods) as they arrive.

4.10 Home Time

Juniors and Seniors will finish school at 1.30p.m. (no change) They will exit through the front door as normal with their teachers. Children will line up at on the footpath down to the gate. We will have markings on the path. Parents will come to collect their child from their line. (change from previous routine) This should help to alleviate any congregating at the gates.

All classes from 1st – 6th will finish at 2. 30p.m .1st and 2nd class will exit the school through the front door. (change to previous routine)

3rd and 4th will exit the school in their pods through the back emergency door as they have been doing to date. Then 3rd and 4th will exit the school through the back gate, down the track and to the car park. (change to routine) 5th and 6th will exit the school in their pods out the back door and through the front gate.

Don’t worry, this will all be explained to pupils by class teachers who will accompany pupils to the car park.

We request that parents establish meeting protocols with your child in the car park, exercise patience and understanding, avoid congregating at the gates or elsewhere and stay physically distanced from others.

4.11 Parental responsibilities on arrival and collection:

 

  • Parents must arrive on time for dropping off and collecting their child and try to establish a safe routine for dropping and collecting. Read the very important information on our website regarding dropping off and collecting children at our school. This information still applies. Our Parents Association will help out in the car park on the first few mornings for which will be of help to new parents.

https://emons.ie/school-policies/car-park-etiquette/

  • Only parents or carers who are well and have no symptoms of COVID-19 are requested to drop off and collect children.
  • Any parent who is in a high risk or very high risk category should not drop off or collect children in order to protect themselves. (This of course is at the discretion of the individual parent/carer/grandparent’s discretion)
  • Parents must not congregate in groups when dropping off or collecting children.
  • Parents must ensure their child remains at their side at all times and that their child does not interact with other children and particularly children from another class unless it is a family member.
  • At arrival and departure times of children, social distancing is to be maintained by children and parents.
  • Under no circumstances should  parents and carers to gather in groups while waiting for the bell to sound

5.Changes to Classroom and School Layout and to School Routines

See note in 4.6 above regarding bubbles and pods.

Junior Infants to Second Class

It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors so there is no requirement for children from Junior Infants to Second Class to maintain a physical distance within their Class Bubble.

Third Class to Sixth Class

Children from Third Class to Sixth Class will be arranged in Pods within their Class Bubbles. As far as possible, each Pod will be at least 1 metre distance from the next Pod. All unnecessary furniture has been removed from these classrooms to create as much space as possible.

Corridors and Stairwells

  • Adults briefly passing each other 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.
  • No pupil is allowed in the corridors of the building unaccompanied by a teacher or SNA.

Additional Measures to Limit Interactions

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

Ventilation

  • To ensure that classrooms are well ventilated, windows will be kept open as often as possible, and will be opened while children are taking breaks in the playground. Doors of classrooms will also remain open.

Lunches

  • Parents must make sure that children bring their lunches to school to avoid adults having to come to the school during the day. Please remind your children not to share their food or drinks with other children.
  • Please make sure your child is self-sufficient and independent where their lunchbox and contents are concerned.ie. Please ensure they can open/peel any lunch/drink you pack for them.
  • Children will eat their lunches at their desks. No food will be allowed onto the yard.

Break times:

  • In order to avoid overcrowding on the yard, break times will be staggered.
  • Play areas /yards:

We are very lucky with the outdoor space available to us in Emo. We will utilise four main areas for play and each class will be allocated an area for a week:

Front yard

Back yard

Track

All weather pitch

  • Extra equipment has been purchased and will be rotated to ensure its safety.

 

Books, Copies, Pencils, etc.

Children should use their own books, pens, pencils, etc. and must not be shared with other pupils. We are asking parents to ensure your child has a pencil case for home use and another one for school use. The pencil case used at home will not be brought to school and the pencil case used in school will not be brought home.

Uniforms/Tracksuits

There is no guidance or advice to say that school tracksuits should be washed every day and this is not practical for most families. However, children’s uniforms must be clean and washed regularly as a child may have coughed or sneezed into their sleeve as per coughing protocols.

 

As a school we strongly advise that children should wear their school uniforms only for school related activities.  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

We request that parents use epayments for all payments to the school this year and details will issue through Aladdin next week.

Physical Education and P.E. Equipment

Physical Education lessons will take place outside when the weather allows. Teachers will organise lessons that require very little if any equipment. Staff members and pupils will be encouraged to take additional breaks outside during the school day. We will continue with our 1km per day which was so successful last year. While these breaks are taking place all windows in the classroom should be opened to allow for ventilation.

All PE equipment if used must be sanitised after use.

 Homework

Homework will commence for all pupils on Monday, September 6th .

Other Parental Responsibilities:

  • Please check that your child has not got a temperature or any other symptoms outlined above before coming to school.
  • Please ensure that your child carries their pocket bottle of sanitiser with them to school each day.
  • Parents must ensure that all of the child’s equipment/books/copies are labelled with the child’s name as equipment/books cannot and will not be shared.
  • Parents are to ensure that their child knows and uses the protocols around coughing/sneezing/use of tissues/hand sanitisersprior to returning to school.
  • Water bottles are to be filled at home every morning.
  • Pencils to be paired at home.
  • Lunches. Make sure your child can open /close their lunch box/drinks bottles. Regarding food please make sure your child can eat and drink the contents of their lunch box independently.
  • Regarding clothing, please ensure your child can open/close their own coat and tie their own runners.

 

6.Supporting the Learning of Children Who Cannot Attend School

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.

Wellbeing of the School Community

We will work on the recommended five principles to support the wellbeing of all our pupils and staff. These are promoting:

  • A sense of safety
  • A sense of calm
  • A sense of belonging and connectedness to school
  • A sense of self-efficacy and school-community efficacy
  • A sense of hope

6.1 School Support for Pupils

We have 4 support teachers in this school. Our usual practice is to provide support to pupils based on what is known as the Continuum of Support. This is a tiered system that provides Whole School and Classroom Support for all pupils, additional School Support for some pupils, and School Support plus extra targeted intervention for a few pupils with complex needs.

 

  1. The Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hygiene and Cleaning

 

  • Sanitiser dispensers have been installed throughout the school e.g. at each entrance, at the entrance to each classroom and support room, at the entrances to both offices and staffroom
  • Emulsifying soap is available in all the toilets as was with an extra soap dispenser at the sinks in each room.
  • Hand hygiene will be promoted and encouraged, and parents/guardians are asked to support the school in reinforcing this message.
  • In accordance with the DES guidelines, the school will be thoroughly cleaned at least once per day. We have increased our cleaning hours in order to enable extra cleaning. Particular attention will be focused on frequently touched surfaces – door handles, handrails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities.
  • All staff will have access to cleaning products and will be required to maintain cleanliness of their own work area. Staff should thoroughly clean and disinfect their work area before and after use each day.
  • Waste will be collected regularly from offices and other areas within the school.

 

8.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
  • Staff must not attend school if they display any symptoms.
  • A designated isolation area has been created in the school.
  • If a staff member/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. 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, parents are asked to make sure that their contact details are kept up to date at all times.

Staff members who are symptomatic should immediately inform the Principal/Deputy Principal and go to the isolation area.

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

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

 

  • If the staff member/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 staff member/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 isolation area and work areas will be thoroughly cleaned in line with the guidelines.

 

  • 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.

 

  • It is important to remember than any of us can get sick or unwell, and if we do, we need understanding and support from those around us. It is essential that anyone who feels unwell makes that known to the Principal/Deputy Principal as soon as possible.

 

 

9 Wellness:

Pupil Wellness:

The Stay Safe programme will be taught in all classes at the start of the school year

Increased emphasis will be placed in all classes on SPHE / PE and outdoor activities.

Thank you for Reading this document. Should you have any queries please e-mail principal@emons.ie or noel@emons.ie