Logistical Plan for re-opening our school
Please note that this a live document and is subject to change in response to updated guidelines from the Department of Education and the HSE.
The purpose of this policy is to outline the steps and processes taken by RETNS to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the school for our pupils and staff. This plan is based on the Department of Education and Skills Covid-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of Primary and Special Schools. RETNS is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and pupils. We have developed the following plan to ensure the safe return to school of all our pupils and staff. All staff, pupils and families are responsible for the implementation of this plan and a combined effort is required to help contain the spread of Covid-19.
It is not possible to eliminate the risk of infection. However, with the co-operation, flexibility and goodwill of all members of our school community, it is possible to minimise the risk of the Covid-19 being introduced to school and the consequent risk of its spread.
RETNS will open for all children on Tuesday 1st September 2020.
In advance of this
A video assembly will be sent home prior to opening to explain to children and families what to
expect on returning to school.
Incoming Junior Infants
Junior Infants will be invited to visit the school on Monday 31st August to meet Katie and to see the Junior Infants Classroom.
Preparing your child for school
Practise washing hands properly with soap for at least 20 seconds. Make sure your child knows how to dry their hands thoroughly.
Children should know how to use hand-sanitiser correctly, and that it should not be ingested.
Teach your child correct coughing etiquette. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or into your elbow if you do not have a tissue. Put the tissue into the bin and wash or sanitise your hands.
Talk to your child about the importance of physical distancing in school. While we will all be delighted to see each other again, hand shaking and hugging will not be allowed.
Make sure your child can independently open and close their lunchbox and bottle, their coat and their shoes. Shoes with Velcro are recommended for younger children.
Please ensure your child has all the relevant stationery required as outlined on the book list (2nd-6th class) and that their box (4th – 6th class) is clean and empty to bring to school on September 1st..
Please ensure all of your child’s clothing, books and stationery are labelled clearly with your child’s name as they cannot be shared.
Arrivals and Departures
Arriving at school
Families will arrive to school at an allotted time. Families are grouped alphabetically and should enter the school grounds through their designated gate depending on the class the children are in (see map). There are separate arrangements for Junior Infants on September 1st (see below).
Junior Infants and Senior Infants: Gate 1 Front vehicular gate
1st and 2nd Class: Gate 1 Front vehicular gate
3rd and 4th: Gate 2 Pedestrian gate to left of front gate
5th and 6th: Gate 3 Pedestrian gate to right of front gate
We encourage families to walk or cycle to school to help reduce the amount of traffic around the school gates. If driving, families are encouraged to park some distance from school and arrive at their allocated time. Children then go straight to their classrooms. To minimise the risks, and to help us to maintain social distancing, the children may not come onto the school grounds until their allocated time. If arrival by car is necessary, children are asked to wait in the car until their arrival time to avoid congestion.
Staggered Arrival times
08.40: Families Adams – Dowling
08.50: Families Doyle – McGrath
09.00: Families McKeown – Zhang
Only parents/guardians (one per family) of children from Junior Infants to 2nd class will be allowed on school grounds. Children in 3rd – 6th class are to make their way to their entry door by themselves.
We ask that everyone entering school grounds maintain a physical distance of 2m from children and adults not in their own family.
School staff will be at the front gate and at entry points to the building to guide children and provide supervision.
There will be four entrances to the school.
Infants enter by the front door (near Carol’s office) Entrance A
1st and 2nd enter by the fire exit at the front of the school Entrance B
3rd and 4th enter by the entrance in side garden Entrance C
5th and 6th via the yard, accessed around back of Community Centre Entrance D
Children arriving on bikes should dismount their bikes before entering the school grounds, park their bikes at the bike rack and enter by their assigned door (except cyclists in 5th and 6th who can enter by the side garden door instead of walking around by the Community Centre).
Junior Infants Tuesday, 1 September
Junior Infants will arrive in three groups, 9.20 (siblings of children in the school), 9.30 and 9.40 (groups to be notified via email). They will enter by the main door where they will be welcomed by Katie and Liz and Clodagh. The following day they arrive as per arrangements for the rest of the school.
Junior Infants will go home at 12.00 for the two weeks, up to and including Friday, 11 September 2020.
Children will have staggered departure times according to class.
Parents/guardians are asked to park some distance from the school. They are asked to arrive on time for collection and to observe social distancing when waiting for their children.
Parents/guardians may wait for their children on the grass area at the front of the school and in the car-park. There will be no entry to the side garden.
All classes will be escorted by their teachers to meet their parents/guardians at the front of the school or leave the grounds independently (senior classes).
All parents/guardians and children are asked to leave the school grounds promptly and to maintain social distance.
Junior Infants exit at 13.20 by the front door A
Senior Infants exit at 13.30 by the front door A
Half one club exit by the front door 14.20 (JI) and 14.30 (SI) A
It is vital that children are punctual and arrive to school at their allocated time. In the event of arriving late to school (after 9.10) children should enter through the front door by the office.
Collection of children during the school day
If a child needs to be collected during the school day:
A note should be provided to the class teacher in advance, where possible, to notify of an early collection
On arrival parents/guardians check in with Carol at the office
A member of staff will bring the child to the front door
The child must be signed out at the front door
Teaching and Learning
School staff know that wellbeing is important and necessary for learning to happen. During this time of transition back to school, we will prioritise promoting a positive, calm and safe return to school and learning. We know that you, as parents and guardians, have done your best and made great efforts to support your child’s continued education when schools were closed. Each child will be in a different place in relation to their learning and we wish to assure you that staff will take that into consideration when planning for teaching and learning during the year. There will be no homework for September to allow families to settle back into the school routine.
Supporting the learning of pupils at home
There may be some pupils for whom the return to school may not be appropriate because the relevant public health guidelines indicate they are at “very high risk”. If you feel this applies to your child, please contact the school immediately. Additional supports by a designated member of staff will be provided to support the child’s ongoing learning.
In the event of a nationalised or localised school closure, teachers and children will engage in a system of online teaching and learning. We are currently reviewing our online teaching from March – June 2020 and our plan will be updated.
Physical distancing will look different across the various ages and stages of learning.
As per Department of Education Guidelines each class will be a ‘Bubble’. A Class Bubble is a grouping which stays apart from other class bubbles as much as possible. Break times will be staggered so children will only play within their bubble. We will operate a one way system when moving on and off the yard to limit interaction between class bubbles.
It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distance indoors, so children from Junior Infants to 2nd Class are not expected to maintain physical distance.
Children from 3rd to 6th Class are expected to keep a distance of 1m where possible.
Children from 3rd to 6th class will be arranged in pods within their class bubbles with a maximum of 6 children per pod. As far as possible, each pod will be at least 1m distance from the next pod. The composition of the pods will change at intervals over the course of the year.
Staff will maintain a 2m physical distance from children when they can, and will wear face coverings where this is not possible.
The school will operate a ‘keep to the left system’ when moving through the school building and grounds, however we will limit class bubbles passing by each other.
Markings and signage will be prominent both inside and outside of the building to highlight and to promote physical distancing in as far as possible.
In order to facilitate physical distancing in senior classes, 3rd and 4th class have been relocated to larger classrooms on the ground floor (see map)
Supporting children with additional needs
In keeping with our school policy, support will be provided by a blended approach of in-class support and withdrawal. Our support teachers will work between two classes only.
In group situations, support teachers will avail of larger spaces than their own rooms to facilitate physical distancing.
The tables and chairs in support rooms will be wiped clean in between different groups attending.
Supplies, books and lunches
Children from 2nd to 6th class should have a pencil case which will stay in school at all times. This pencil case should be wipeable and contain their essential stationery as outlined on the booklist. It is important that your child has all the stationery they need as they will not be able to share with classmates. All items within the pencil case should be clearly labelled with your child’s name.
Junior Infants, Senior infants and 1st Class children will be provided with all the stationery they need to use in school. They should not bring in any pencil cases from home.
Ensure your child does not have any unnecessary items such as toys in their schoolbag.
Toy Day on Fridays will be suspended until further notice.
All rubbish generated during lunch is to be brought home for disposal as per our Green Schools’ Policy.
In senior classes children will store their books, copies and supplies in their individual boxes. Children from 4th-6th class should bring their box in on September 1st. 3rd class will receive their new boxes in school.
School visitors and use of the school
1.30 Club will run in the Artist’s Studio for Junior Infants and the MPR for Senior Infants.
We will not be in a position to offer any other after school activities at present. Due to the requirement for children to remain in their class bubble, it will not be possible to mix them outside of this. It is also not possible to have them in the classroom of another bubble.
The Board of Management will continue to monitor the situation as the year progresses and should it be feasible, we will explore it further.
Visiting teachers/coaches/workshops/ swimming are suspended subject to review.
Unfortunately, it will not be possible for parents/guardians to come into the school before/after school.
Parents/Guardians dropping off forgotten items should leave them at reception to be delivered.
All correspondence will be sent to parents/guardians by email and our school website will be continually updated.
Messages for teachers can be written in the Homework Journal or by phoning/emailing the school office.
If a parent/guardian wishes to speak with a teacher or vice-versa, best practice is to do this by an arranged phone call. Appointments in the school building will be kept to a minimum and will only take place by prior arrangement with the Principal.
Phone calls and meetings can be arranged by email or by phone call to the office.
If information needs to be given to the teacher during the school day, please contact the school office by phone or by email.
Returning to school after absence
On return to school following any absence a Return to School Parental Declaration Form needs to be filled out and given to Carol in the office.
Hygiene and cleaning
Children will perform hand hygiene regularly during the day
on arrival at school
before eating and drinking
after using the toilet
after a cough or a sneeze
after playing outdoors
when hands are physically dirty
Soap is available in all classrooms and toilets
Proper handwashing and cough etiquette will be taught to children
Hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed throughout the school and in every classroom. Children should not bring their own hand sanitising products to school.
Masks and Visors Teachers who cannot maintain a 2m distance from students will be required to wear face coverings All ANAs will be required to wear face coverings/clear visors when working with children Staff can choose to wear masks/ visors even in situations where distance of 2m can be maintained
Contract cleaners are employed by the school to carry out daily cleaning.
Cleaning in the school will be increased considerably.
A cleaning/PPE kit will be available in each room containing the necessary cleaning materials required along with disposable PPE.
The isolation area will contain an isolation area kit consisting of disposable masks, gloves, tissues and aprons.
Books, toys and resources will be cleaned regularly or quarantined for 72 hours before being reused. Resources will be provided for children individually where possible, or shared within their “pod”. Resources that are shared between classes will be cleaned between uses.
Suspected COVID Cases
Children should not attend school:
If displaying any symptoms of Covid-19
If they have been identified by the HSE as a contact of a person with Covid-19 (should follow the HSE advice on restricted movement)
During the 14 days self-isolation period having travelled from countries not on the Green List
The symptoms of Covid -19 are: (taken from DES Covid -19 response plan for Primary and Special Schools Section 5.1 Page 15)
✔ High temperature (38°C or above)
✔ Cough (any kind of cough)
✔ Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
✔ Loss of smell, of taste or distortion of taste
Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19 in school:
If a pupil displays any of the symptoms of Covid-19 while in school, the following procedures will be implemented:
Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure we have up-to-date contact details on Aladdin Connect.
The child will be accompanied to the designated isolation area 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. The staff member will wear a mask.
The school has allocated the stage area behind the curtains in the hall as the designated isolation area in the event of a pupil or staff member developing symptoms of Covid- 19 while at school.
A mask will be provided for the child presenting with symptoms.
The child presenting with symptoms will 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.
The school will facilitate the child presenting with symptoms to remain in isolation, if they cannot go home immediately.
If the child is well enough to go home, the school will arrange for them to be collected as soon as possible, and advise their parents/guardians to inform their GP by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used.
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 child is a Covid-19 suspect.
Arrangements will be made for the appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas 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 will be followed and staff and pupil confidentiality will be maintained at all times.
Impact of a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 in the school
If we are notified of a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 in the school, public health advice will be sought and followed. RETNS will follow the protocols and instructions given by the HSE at all times and communicate information to parents as instructed by the HSE.
Thank you for reading our logistical plan which is subject to review and will be updated in light of new and relevant information.