COVID19 Response Plan Updated - St Patricks BNS

Go to content

Main menu:

COVID19 Response Plan Updated

School Policies

St. Patrick’s B.NS. COVID-19 Response Plan updated 24/02/21

Key facts for Parents:
COVID – 19 is a new illness that can affect the lungs and airways and is caused by a new virus called the Coronavirus.
Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. To infect you, it has to get from an infected person's nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth. This can be direct or indirect (on hands, objects, surfaces). If you come into close contact with someone who is shedding the virus and who is coughing or sneezing  or if you touch - with your hands - surfaces or objects that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on, and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes without having washed your hands thoroughly you may contract the virus.
As COVID-19 is a new illness, we are still learning about how easily the virus spreads from person to person and how to control it, so it is important to keep up to date and make sure you are using the most up to date guidance available. This information is available from the following links:
• HSE Hub:
• Department of Health: coronavirus/
COVID-19 can be a mild or severe illness. Severe illness is much more common in older people (especially older than 70) and in people vulnerable for other reasons. Severe illness is much less common in children and young adults in good health. (See below)
The most common symptoms of Covid 19 are:
• Cough - this can be any kind of cough, usually dry but not always
• Fever - high temperature over 38 degrees Celsius
• Shortness of Breath
• Breathing Difficulties
• Lack of smell.
Symptomatic people appear to be most infectious for other people in the early days after symptoms begin. Infection can also spread from people in the day or two before they get symptoms and it can spread from some people who get an infection but have no symptoms or such mild symptoms that they take little notice of them (asymptomatic spread). People are no longer infectious for other people 14 days after they have developed symptoms.
Best practice for Parents and Pupils: In order to prevent the spread of the virus -
•  if you have been in contact with someone who is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms
• If you have coughed or sneezed
• if you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
• if you have been on public transport,
• if you have been in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
• if you have handled animals or animal waste
• If you move from one room to another room or from inside to outside areas
• If you have physical contact with a child from another group other than their own group
• if your hands are dirty                    
• when you arrive and leave buildings including your home or anyone else's home
•  After using the toilet
• Before having a cigarette or vaping before and after eating
• Before and after preparing food
• Before and after eating your own food – breaks/lunches
• After assisting a child to use the toilet or using the toilet themselves
• After contact with bodily fluids (runny nose, spit, vomit, blood, faeces)
• After cleaning tasks
You must - Wash your hands with soap and water (which is the best method to get rid of germs) and or use a hand sanitiser
You must -Practice good respiratory hygiene:  that is, when coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
You must - Maintain social or physical distancing: that is, leave at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and other people where possible, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
Must not engage in handshaking or hugging
Must avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself
Keep your hands in good condition. Moisturise them often. Any basic product that is not perfumed or coloured is OK.
The staff will complete multiple lessons on correct hygiene, lining up, the importance of hand sanitising , staying within their pods/bubbles etc. with the children during the first weeks back in school.
Role of Parents:
It is important that parents have a clear understanding of the benefits and risk of childcare and that it is not possible to guarantee that infection can be prevented in any setting either in a childcare centre, school or in the home.
The following are protocols that are put in place to safeguard the health and safety of each other. Parents are expected to abide by them and failure to do so may result in a parent being instructed to remove a child from the school building/yard, and or to leave the school premises themselves.  If serious breaches of safety measures occur, the board may be informed.
Under no circumstances is a parent to bring a child to school if -
• if the child is exhibiting any symptoms of Covid 19-
• If the child has a temperature, is sneezing, coughing, who has been vomiting or has diahorrea.
• If a child has been outside of the country in the 14 days prior to August 27th, they are not to attend school but must isolate
• If the child has been in contact with any family member and or other person who has Covid.

Arrival and departure procedures for children and parents:
• Parents must arrive on time for leaving in and collecting their child.
• Only parents or carers who are well and have no symptoms of COVID-19 or who have served the required quarantine time of 14 days where advised are allowed to drop off and collect children.
• Any parent who is in a 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)
• Pupils may arrive to school grounds between 8.30-8:45 a.m. (See below)
• Drop-off Plan
• Pupils should enter the grounds between 8:30-8:45a.m. On return to school, there will be the Principal/teachers/SNAs supervising pupils entering the school grounds/building to guide and ensure safety for all. Pupils will be supervised by teachers/SNAs in their classrooms from 8:30 a.m.-8:50 a.m. before school starts. This allows a 15 minute window when they will be able to arrive in school safely. Pupils should not arrive in school before 8:30 a.m. Learning will begin at 8:50 a.m.
• First class parents (Ms. Murray and Ms. O’ Connor) may accompany pupils to their entry point Door B at bottom of hill.  Parents will not be allowed to enter the building without permission/appointment.
• Second Class Pupils (Ms. Harrington) and Third Class Pupils (Ms. Kelleher) will enter Door C at side of building.
• Second Class Pupils (Mr. Horgan), Sixth Class Pupils (Mr. Mullins and Ms. Butler) will enter Door D at the back of the building.
• Fourth Class Pupils (Mr. O’ Mahony), Fifth Class Pupils (Ms. Mullane and Mr. Walsh) will enter Door A at front of building by office.
• If necessary to enter the school grounds, a parent must proceed immediately to their child’s entry/collection area. They are not to congregate in groups or stand around chatting.
• Under no circumstances are parents to linger in the yard after the child entered school/been collected but are to leave immediately.
• If a parent has more than one child, the other children stay with them and having handed over the first child, they may proceed to the second entry area. Older pupils should be able to do this independently.

• Collection Plan
• Pupil Leaving/Collection Staggered Timetable
• End of the school day: Children will exit the building calmly while being supervised & escorted via their designated exit points in a staggered manner commencing with 4 classes at 2.20, 2 classes at 2.25 & 4 at 2.30.
• The 1st class children will be collected from the bottom of the drive where they will be joined by older siblings from other classes while the 2nd classes will be collected from the upper yard where they too will be joined by older siblings.
• Children and parents/ guardians will be requested to vacate the school grounds immediately. Likewise will occur for the remaining classes. All children will be out of the school building by 2.30.  
Bottom of Ramp Upper Yard
2:20 1st Class 2nd Class
2:25 3rd Class 4th Class
2:30 6th Class 5th Class

• Children that are not collected on time will be asked to line up in a socially distanced manner by Áras Phádraig where they will be supervised until they are collected.

• Home times will be staggered for classes from first to sixth- 2.10p.m., 2.20pm.,2:30 p.m.
• Parents must wait outside the school  grounds (where possible) and maintain social distancing in the evening time when waiting to collect a child.  
• All must leave the yard immediately after collection.
• No parent will be allowed within the school building.
• Should a matter of urgency arise for parents, they must phone the office and make an appointment or access.
Access will only be permitted once their temperature has been taken and they have used the hand sanitiser. Once inside the school building they must maintain the required social distance and follow the directions of the principal/staff member.
• At arrival and departure times of children, social distancing is to be maintained by children and parents.
• Under no circumstances are parents and carers to gather in groups while waiting for the bell to sound
• Markings on the ground will note where a class can line up.
• Arrival and collection times will be staggered to avoid groups of parents/children congregating together
• Classes have been assigned specific doors noted Doors A to D (which will be labelled)
If a child appears unwell on entering the classroom, the child’s temperature will be taken and in the interests of the safety of the staff and the other children, the principal will contact the parent and ask the parent to take the child home immediately if deemed necessary.

Other Responsibilities for Parents:
• Parents must ensure that their child has his/her own small labelled sanitary box/bag including hand sanitiser, tissues, wipes and a small dry cloth/towel which are coming to school. These must be replaced when empty. Parents must ensure that all of the child’s equipment/books/copies are labelled with the child’s name as equipment/books cannot be shared.
• Parents are to ensure that their child knows and uses the protocols around coughing/sneezing/use of tissues/hand sanitisers prior to returning to school.
• Parents must ensure that all books/writing equipment/lunch boxes/water bottles are sanitised on completion of homework before being placed in the child’s schoolbag.
• Water bottles are to be filled at home every evening.
• Children are to go to the bathroom before they leave home for school daily.
• Children are to wash their hands  before leaving for school

Parents and Uniforms:

• Children’s uniforms/tracksuits must be clean and washed regularly as a child may have coughed or sneezed into their sleeve as per coughing protocols.
• To help parents facilitate the washing and drying of school clothing; To begin the year, all pupils are asked to wear the school uniform on Monday and Tuesday, any clean own clothes on Wednesday and the school tracksuit on Thursday and Friday. It is recommended that all children have two jumpers. (There are a number of jumpers  in the lost property if any parent wants to take them) Reasonably priced  uniforms can be bought in Lidl/Pennys/Marks & Spencers & Dunnes or from Buckley’s on Shandon St.  (more expensive)

Children who may have symptoms:
• Any child who is unwell with a fever, has a cold, influenza or infectious respiratory symptoms or is displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus is to stay at home.
The child’s parent should contact their GP and seek their guidance on referral for coronavirus testing.
• Discreet and sensitive temperature testing will take place as is currently the practice for children who may be unwell. Parents will be contacted immediately and must remove the child if the temperature is over 37.5 C.
Protocols if a child becomes unwell or presents as a suspected case of COVID-19 while at school -
• The child will be brought to the Isolation Room in Áras Phádraig by a staff member keeping at least 2 meters apart from the staff member.
• The parent will be immediately contacted and asked to come to the school to take the child either to the doctor or home. The handover will take place at the front of Áras Phádraig.
• The secretary/principal/SNA will remain with the child until he/she is picked up.
•  Dedicated waste bins will be in use.
• The staff member caring for the child in isolation should wear personal protective equipment i.e. face mask, disposable apron and gloves.
• The child should be encouraged not to touch surfaces, people or any objects.
• Public transport of any kind should not be used by the parent to take the child home.
• Appropriate cleaning and disinfection of the isolation area and the child’s work station will be carried out immediately.
•  The principal and the DLW will carry out an assessment of the incident which will form any part of follow up actions.
• The principal will inform the HSE in line with correct protocols.
If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in school.
• The school will be contacted by local Public Health staff of the HSE to discuss the case. They will identify people who have been in contact with the person and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.  
• An assessment will be undertaken by HSE public health staff.
•  Advice on the management of children and staff who came into contact with the person will be based on this assessment.
Symptomatic people should self-isolate and arrange to get tested for COVID-19. Confirmed COVID-19 cases should continue to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 14 days and should not return to school until they are advised that it is safe to do so. Close contacts of a confirmed case (their partner/family member should be notified and go home if at work and restrict their movements for 14 days. They should not attend work during that time.
Children in High Risk Groups: Parents should seek advice from their GP/Specialist if they think their child is in a high risk group. They must make an informed decision if it is safe for their child to return to school on August 27th. They should inform the principal of the advice given. The principal has already contacted parents of pupils known to her during August to discuss any possible concerns they might have. If there are any parents out there who have concerns about their child’s health, please contact the principal via email at or school office 0214502024
The Minister of Health recently announced that the flu vaccine will be available free to all children aged between 2 and 12 in the coming weeks. The vaccine will be given as drops on the tongue. We are awaiting further information on this and will let you know as soon as we get an update. It is more than likely that the vaccine will be given in the schools so as to avoid thousands of families descending on GPs.
Use of Face masks:
• It is currently not recommended in Ireland for children under 13 to wear face masks as a mitigation strategy against the transmission of the coronavirus. It is currently the opinion of public health that their use, especially among young children, has the potential to cause more harm than good..
• If a parent wishes their child to wear a mask, this will be permitted. The use of a visor instead will be recommended.
Children’s learning spaces:
• All excess furniture will be removed from the classroom where possible so as to provide additional space.
• All staff will reconfigure their classrooms to ensure a one metre distance between classrrom pods.  Pupils will be organised into pods within the classroom.
• Classes will be organised into bubbles and interaction between classes outside of the bubble is not to take place.
• Resources that can be easily cleaned will be used and toys and materials that are difficult to clean e.g. dress up clothes or soft toys during this temporary Covid-19 emergency will not to be used.
• Pupils will hand sanitise before and after using any materials.
• Pupils will not be allowed to share materials/resources.
• Toilet breaks will be staggered.
• The tables/toilets/surfaces will disinfected be by teachers/SNAs/caretaker/cleaner in the middle and at the end of the day. And also if soiled/contaminated during the day.
• Additional time will be spent by the hygiene staff in cleaning the school.
• In SEN rooms, the tables and surfaces will be disinfected after each pod of pupils use.

Appendix 3 Summary of additions to COVID-19 Response Plans required by ‘Work Safely Protocol’
Sec 4.2 Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW) & Appendix 6 Checklist for School Management
A RTW form will be completed by all staff and returned to the school using Google Forms before returning to work.
Sec 5 Infection Prevention Control Measures - To prevent Introduction and Spread of COVID-19 in Schools
Staff and pupils are advised to self-isolate or restrict their movements at home if they display any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and contact their family doctor to arrange a test
Staff and pupils are advised not to return to or attend school in the event of the following:  if they are identified by the HSE as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19  if they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus  If they have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instances staff are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel. 
Staff and pupils are advised to cooperate with any public health officials and the school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice in the event of a case or outbreak in the school;
Sec 5.3 Hand Hygiene
There is access to hand washing facilities after activities that are likely to soil hands, for example playing outside or certain sporting activities as hand sanitiser does not work on dirty hands • Alcohol-based sanitiser is not stored or used near heat or naked flame
Sec 5.4 Physical Distancing Ventilation –
The Department has published guidance setting out the practical steps for good ventilation in accordance with public health advice ‘Practical Steps for the Deployment of Good Ventilation Practices in Schools’ The guidance sets out an overall approach 2 for schools that windows should be open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during break-times or lunch-times (assuming not in use) and also at the end of each school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. The guidance provides that good ventilation can be achieved in classrooms without causing discomfort, particularly during cold weather.
Sec. 5.5 Use of PPE in Schools Medical Grade Masks Schools
The school provides medical grade masks in the EN16483 category to all SNAs and teachers
Sec 8 Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19
School staff  are encouraged to download the HSE COVID-19 tracker app to assist Public Health for contract tracing purposes both in and out of the school setting.
Sec 9 Staff Duties
Not to return to or attend school in the event of the following:  if they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus  If they have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instances staff are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel.
Cooperate with any public health personnel and their school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice given in the event of a case or outbreak in their school
Undergo any COVID-19 testing that may be required in their school as part of mass or serial testing as advised by Public Health
Appendix 6 Checklist for School Management Staff
• Have you requested confirmation that the details in the pre-return to work form remain unchanged following periods of closure such as school holidays.   
• Have you advised staff and pupils not to return to or attend school if they are identified by the HSE as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or if they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus.  
• Have you advised staff and pupils not to return or attend school if they have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instances staff are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel  
• Have you advised staff and pupils to cooperate with any public health officials and the school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice in the event of a case or outbreak in the school; 
• Hand / Respiratory Hygiene Have you told staff and pupils when they need to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser? This includes:  When entering and exiting vehicles  When entering and exiting school buildings Physical Distancing  
• Have you advised staff of the Department’s guidance to achieve good ventilation 
• Have you checked any mechanical ventilation systems to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air is used  
Appendix 7 Checklist for dealing with a suspected case of COVID-19
A nominated member of the school management team will be will be responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the protocol to deal with suspected cases have been adhered to. 
Appendix 9 Checklist for cleaning
Have you put in place a written cleaning schedule to be made available to cleaning staff including:  Cleaning of frequently touched surfaces such as surface tops and door handles 

Back to content | Back to main menu