Scoil Bhríde Lann Léíre  Covid Response Plan

(Revised- August 30th, 2021)

This document has been prepared on the basis of current public health advice and will continue to be updated as further public advice is received. All staff members met at length to discuss and agree on the contents of this plan with the approval of the Board of Management (BOM)

Introduction

This Covid Response Plan is designed to support the staff and Board of Management (BOM) in putting measures in place that will prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Scoil Bhríde.  Our overriding objective is to protect the health of staff and pupils while promoting the educational and developmental needs of the children in the school.

This plan details the practices, procedures and protocols we feel are necessary for our school to meet the Government’s ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’, the Department of Education and Skills plan for school reopening and to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the school environment. It incorporates updated advice about measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

As the advice issued by NPHET continues to evolve, the protocols and the measures management and staff may need to change.

This document provides updated information/protocols/practices/procedures in relation to Covid-19:

The assistance and cooperation of all staff, pupils, parents/guardians, contractors and visitors are critical to the success of the plan. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this document. However, should errors or omissions be identified, please notify us so that appropriate measures can be taken to rectify same. Note: The plan is a live working document and has been reviewed and amended to take into account new guidance from www.Gov.ie, www.dbei.ie www.hse.ie, www.hpsc.ie, www.hsa.ie; www.education.ie

Scoil Bhríde Lann Léire Response Plan

This plan continues to outline our commitment as a school to help prevent the spread of the virus and will be brought to the attention of staff, pupils, parents, guardians and others.

 

Statement

Scoil Bhríde Lann Léire is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our pupils. To ensure this, we have developed the following plan. The BOM and all school staff are responsible for the implementation of this plan and a combined effort will help contain the spread of the virus. We will continue to:

  • monitor our COVID-19 response and amend this plan in consultation with staff
  • provide up to date information to our staff and pupils and parents/guardians on the public health advice issued by the HSE and Gov.ie
  • display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct hand-washing

techniques

  • inform all staff and pupils of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical

distancing requirements

  • adapt the school to facilitate physical distancing as appropriate in line with the guidance and direction of the Department of Education and Skills
  • keep a contact log to help with contact tracing
  • ensure staff and pupils engage with the induction/familiarisation briefing provided by

the Department of Education and Skills

  • implement the agreed procedures to be followed in the event of someone showing

symptoms of COVID-19 while at school

  • provide instructions for staff and pupils to follow if they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during school time
  • implement cleaning in line with Department of Education and Skills advice
  • All school staff will be consulted on an ongoing basis and feedback is encouraged on any concerns, issues or suggestions.

This can be done through the Lead Worker Representative

Planning and Preparing for the Return to School September 2021

The Board of Management and staff have facilitated the resumption of school-based teaching and learning and the return to the workplace of staff. The return to work was done safely and in strict adherence to the advice and instructions of public health authorities and the Government. Details for the reopening of the school facility and the applicable controls are outlined in this document – many of these were devised by the BOM and staff based on a number of factors specific to our school building, circumstances and needs.

School Buildings

Before re-opening schools in the new school year Scoil Bhríde carried out:

  • Resumption of bin collections, sanitary services and other essential services.
  • Checked school equipment and mechanical ventilation for signs of deterioration or damage before being used again – work will be carried out if necessary as soon as possible
  • Flushed toilets and ran taps to have a clean supply of water.
  • Placed touch less hand sanitizers inside every room in the school.
  • Carried out professional cleaning of all flooring.
  • Organised for cleaning staff to undergo training to comply with Covid cleaning protocols.
  • Purchased pump dispensers of sanitizers for all rooms.
  • Face masks have been purchased for all staff.
  • Installation of a reception window at the secretary’s office.
  • Purchased a “fogging” machine to sanitize areas of the school.
  • Have received CO2 Monitors.

Signage

Scoil Bhríde has purchased and displays signage outlining the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and to support good hand and respiratory hygiene – these are displayed in prominent areas such as offices, corridors, staffroom area, classrooms and toilets.

Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)

  • Staff completed a Return to Work (RTW) prior to returning to work and also participated in online Induction Training.
  • The school will continue to operate a “drop and go” system. No parents will be allowed into the school building.

Lead Worker Representative

Responsibility for the development and implementation of this plan and the associated control measures lies primarily with the Board of Management and the School Leadership. The Return to Work Safely protocol provides for an agreed procedure between management and staff and the appointed Lead Worker Representative (LWR) Ms. Keogh, to carry out a specific role.

 

The role of the lead worker representative is to continue to ensure that Covid-19 measures are adhered to in the workplace as follows:

  • Work collaboratively with the employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of employees in relation to COVID-19.
  • Promote good hygiene practices such as washing hands regularly and maintaining good respiratory etiquette along with maintaining social distancing in accordance with public health advice.
  • Assist with the implementation of measures to suppress COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Monitor adherence to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Consult with colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Make representations on behalf of their colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace.

If a staff member has any concerns or observations in relation to the Covid-19 Response Plan and control measures or the adherence to such control measures by staff, parents/guardians, cleaners, caretaker, contractors or visitors, he/she should contact Ms. Keogh who will engage with the Principal/BOM. Contact details: mary@scoilbhride.net

 

All staff, parents/guardians, contractors and visitors continue to have a responsibility both as individuals and collectively to have due regard for their own health and safety and that of others and to assist with the implementation of this plan and associated control measures.

Safety Statement and Risk Assessment

COVID-19 represents a hazard in the context of health and safety in the school environment. Our LWR regularly carries out a risk assessment to identify the control measures required to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our school and will outline the measures needed to address these.

We have reviewed our emergency procedures involving fire safety, first aid and accidents in light of Covid-19.

 

General advice to prevent the spread of the virus

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to continue to be aware of symptoms. They are:

  • High temperature
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • Loss of smell, of taste or distortion of taste
  • Runny nose, Sneezing
  • Stomach-ache, nausea, vomiting

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school is to continue to minimise the risk of introduction of the disease into the school setting in the first place. This can be achieved through the following measures already in place:

  • Promote awareness of COVID-19 and its symptoms amongst staff, pupils, parents and visitors.
  • Advise staff and parents of pupils who have symptoms of COVID-19 or other acute infectious diseases not to attend school, to phone their GP and follow the HSE guidance on self-isolation.
  • Advise staff and parents of pupils who have been identified by the HSE as contact of a person with COVID-19 not to attend schools and to follow the HSE advice on restriction of movement.
  • Ensure that staff and pupils know what to do if they develop symptoms at school.
  • All adults entering the school building should are required to wear a face covering and to perform hand hygiene with hand sanitiser.
  • Advise staff and pupils 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
  • Advise staff and pupils 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.
    • Advise 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.

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  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. C02 monitors are due to be  delivered to the school in September 2021.

  • Parents/guardians and any other visitors to school during the day should be by prior arrangement and should be received at a specific contact point.
  • Parents/guardians are requested to:
  • Use the Drop & Go system.
  • Wear a face covering when dropping their children to school and picking them up if a distance of 2m from others cannot be maintained.
  • NOT to enter the school grounds – all children can make their own way into the school.
  • NOT to stay outside the school gates once the children have been dropped off/picked up.

Staff, pupils, parents/guardians and visitors should at all times adhere to the up to date advice and instructions of the public health authorities in relation to protecting oneself and others against the risk posed by the Covid-19 virus.  Updated advice from the HSE is available on its website – https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/  The Department of Education and Skills will ensure all updated advice is circulated to schools. Scoil Bhríde will arrange for this advice to be circulated to staff, parents/guardians, pupils, visitors in a timely manner.

Managing the risk of spread of COVID-19

Wash your Hands frequently

Regular hand washing with soap and water is effective for the removal of COVID-19.

Follow the HSE guidelines on hand washing.  For advice from HSE on how to wash your hands the following link will be helpful – https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/how-to-wash-your-hands.html

 

Hand Hygiene and Hand Sanitisers

Hand hygiene can also be achieved by the use of a hand sanitiser (when hands are clean).

Touch less hand sanitizers have been purchased and will be placed inside the door of every room in the building. Teachers will also have pump dispensers for use in their classrooms. These will help to avoid disruption to teaching and learning and congestion of staff and pupils waiting to use hand washing facilities.  There is a requirement for 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 must not be stored or used near heat or naked flame

Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose and Mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is recommended to reduce the spread of infection in the workplace. Details of how we address this can be found at the end of this plan.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu andCovid-19.

Good hygiene practices and washing your hands properly and regularly can help stop the spread of the virus. It is, therefore, crucial that all staff adhere to this advice and adopt the practices above as strictly as possible.

 

People at Very High Risk (Extremely Vulnerable):

Current public health guidelines have identified groups who are defined as being at very high risk. The HSE has set out these groups, which include people who:

  • are over 70 years of age – even if you’re fit and well
  • have had an organ transplant
  • are undergoing active chemotherapy for cancer
  • are having radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppressant drugs
  • severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, lung fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and severe COPD
  • have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant therapies)
  • have a serious heart condition

The advice for this group is available from the HSE

 

Control Measures

A range of essential control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of staff, pupils, parents/guardians and visitors as far as possible within the school. These control measures are outlined at the end of this document. The control measures shall continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis. It is critical that staff, pupils, parents/guardians and visitors are aware of, and adhere to, the control measures outlined and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements. Staff, in particular, should note that they have a legal obligation under Section 13 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to comply with health and safety requirements and to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues and other parties within the workplace.

The following control measures have been put in place:

Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)

A RTW form should be completed and returned to the school before returning to work. Schools should request staff (verbally or in writing) to confirm that the details in the pre-return to work form remain unchanged following subsequent periods of closure such as school holidays.

Induction Training

All staff undertook and completed Covid-19 Induction Training prior to returning to the school building. The aim of such training was to ensure that staff have full knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • Latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health
  • Covid-19 symptoms
  • 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 are 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 with any changes to the control measures or guidance available from the public health authorities.

If a staff member is unsure about any aspect of the Covid-19 Response Plan, the associated control measures, or his/her duties, he/she should immediately seek guidance from the Principal or LWR.

Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

It is crucial that all staff, pupils, parents/guardians and visitors continue to adopt, good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.

Hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitisers continue to be situated at multiple locations within the school facility and in each classroom.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 Use of PPE in Schools Medical Grade Masks Schools must provide medical grade masks in the EN16483 category to all SNAs and teachers in special schools and special classes and those staff by necessity that need to be in close and continued proximity with pupils with intimate care needs including School Bus Escorts.

All staff members must wear a face mask at all times while in the school building

Wearing of Gloves:

The use of disposable gloves in the school setting by pupils or staff is not appropriate. It does not protect the wearer and may expose others to risk from contaminated gloves. The outline use of disposable gloves is not a substitute for hand hygiene but are worn when administering first aid.

Cleaning

  • Arrangements for more regular and thorough cleaning of areas and surfaces within the school have been made – cleaners have a detailed list of cleaning protocols.
  • Cleaners have received professional training from AV Direct. Reinforcement of all cleaning protocols will be monitored by AV Direct.
  • Regular and thorough cleaning of communal areas and frequently touched surfaces is conducted, in particular toilets, door handles and kitchens.
  • All staff have access to cleaning products and are required to maintain cleanliness of their own work area. Under no circumstances should these cleaning materials be removed from the building. Staff thoroughly clean and disinfect their work area before and after use each day.
  • There is regular collection of used waste and recycling from offices and other areas within the school facility.
  • Children from 2nd class upwards may be required to wipe down their desks and chairs once the teacher has sprayed the surfaces with antibacterial cleaner (if any parents/guardians have a concern about this, please contact the school). This will be done at the end of every day under the supervision of teachers and SNAs where available.

Access to the school building/contact log

  • Access to the school facility will be in line with agreed school procedures.
  • Arrangements for necessary visitors such as contractors and parents/guardians are restricted to essential purposes and limited to those who have obtained prior approval from the Principal.
  • A detailed sign in/sign out log of those entering the school facilities is maintained. The school maintains a log of staff and students contacts.

First Aid/emergency procedure

  • The standard First Aid/Emergency procedure shall continue to apply in Scoil Bhríde. When treating children, staff will wear disposable gloves and a face mask or visor. Administration of first aid will take place outside when possible. SNAs carry a first aid kit and cooler bags containing ice packs when in the yard.
  • In an emergency or in case of a serious incident, we will call for an ambulance or the fire brigade on 112/999

 

Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19

Staff or pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. The following outlines how Scoil Bhríde will deal with a suspected case that may arise during the course of work.

  • A designated isolation room is located near the main office.
  • If a staff member/pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while at work in Scoil Bhríde the following are the procedures to be implemented:
  • If the person with the suspected case is a pupil, the parents/guardians should be contacted immediately
  • We isolate the person and have a procedure in place to accompany the individual to the designated isolation area, keeping at least 2 metres away from the symptomatic person and also making sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from the symptomatic person at all times
  • The person’s temperature is taken
  • We will facilitate a child presenting with symptoms remaining in isolation if they cannot immediately go home. The individual should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects.
  • We will advise a child presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bin provided
  • Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow-up actions and recovery
  • Arrange for 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 confidentiality is essential at all times.
  • The child will not be allowed to return to school until they have been tested for Covid-19 and the results have been given.

Staff Duties

Staff should not 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 members 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

Staff have a statutory obligation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of their colleagues and other parties. These duties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Adhere to this plan and the control measures outlined. The cooperation and assistance of all staff is essential to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19 and to protect health and safety as far as possible within the school. All staff have a key role to play
  • Coordinate and work with their colleagues to ensure that physical distancing is maintained
  • Make themselves aware of the symptoms of Covid-19 and monitor their own wellbeing
  • Self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they display any symptoms of Covid-19
  • Not return or attend school if they have symptoms of Covid-19 under any circumstances.
  • If they develop any symptoms of Covid-19 whilst within the school facility, they should adhere to the procedure outlined above
  • Complete the RTW form before they return to work
  • Must inform the Principal if there are any other circumstances relating to Covid-19, not included in the form, which may need to be disclosed to facilitate their safe return to the workplace
  • Must be aware of, and adhere to, good hygiene and respiratory etiquette practices
  • Keep informed of the updated advice of the public health authorities and comply with same.

Covid related absence management

  • The management of a Covid-19 related absence of a staff member will be done in line with agreed procedures with DES in circular 0049/2020.

Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme

The Board of Management aims to protect and support the health and wellbeing of all staff (physical, mental, spiritual etc.) both at work, whether in the school facility or at home and outside of work. The Board of Management is mindful that the support and promotion of staff health and wellbeing is particularly important in the current context where the Covid-19 pandemic has caused considerable challenges for, and disruption to, people’s personal, family and social lives as well as their work arrangements.

The Board of Management aims to foster a culture and work environment that supports healthy behaviours and staff wellbeing and shall continue to make health and wellbeing tools and guidance available to staff as well as organising suitable support programmes, initiatives and events.

These continue to be challenging times for everyone. Should a staff member experience any stress or anxiety in respect of work or work arrangements, he/she should feel free to speak to the principal.

ADDITIONAL MEASURES BEING IMPLEMENTED BY SCOIL BHRÍDE TO SUPPORT THE SAFE RETURN TO SCHOOL FOR ALL AND TO HELP TO MAINTAIN A SAFE AND HEALTHY TEACHING AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Staff:

Teachers and SNAs are assigned to either the junior or senior part of the school. Teachers in each section will take their breaks in separate rooms and will only supervise the classes in their assigned part of the school.

Ms. Moran and Jacinta (and other staff members at times) will be moving around the whole school. They will however maintain a high standard of hand hygiene and wear either a mask when entering classes. Ms. Moran addresses classes/groups outdoors as much as possible.

Entering and exiting the school:

Junior Infants, Senior Infants & 1st Class will enter and exit the school via their own classroom doors.

2nd class enters and exits the school through the brown double doors of the GP hall.

3rd class enters and exits the school through the fire exit door of the classroom (staff that arrive after 9.05am must park at the front of the school to facilitate this)

4th classes – both enter and exit the school through the double doors leading into the back yard.

 5th class enters and exit the school through the door at the end of the senior section of the school.

6th class enters and leaves the school via the main door.

It is vital that children and/or parents & guardians do not congregate outside the school grounds. School begins at 9.20am and children should not arrive before 9.10am as they will not be allowed on school grounds – the bell will ring at this time and all children will need to walk quietly into the school and will sanitize their hands on entering their classroom.

If anyone is driving their child to school please “drop and go”. Parents will be contacted if their child arrives too early for school.

Staff/Classes:

  • Junior Infants to 1st class will not have to socially distance. Two SET teachers are assigned to this section of the school and there is an SNA in Senior Infants.
  • 2nd to 5th class remain in their own class groups (as bubbles). Three SET teachers are assigned to this section of the school. There are also two SNAs in this section of the school.
  • The two 4th classes engage in some activities together with the agreement of both teachers.

The yard:

  • All Classes have been assigned their own area of the yard. These are clearly marked.
  • Junior & Senior Infants play in the junior yard
  • 4th classes play together in a designated area
  • All other classes play in their own separate designated area.
  • There are no yard helpers from 5th and 6th class this year.

Toilets:

Every class has their own toilets assigned to them.

School bags and equipment:

Senior Infants to 6th class need to have one pencil case for school and another for home.

Lunch boxes and drinks are considered “high risk” for Covid. They therefore need to be brought in to school in their school bag which will be kept at your child’s table. Any uneaten food and wrappings will be returned to the lunch box and taken home. Please make sure your child can open their lunch box and drink bottle so teachers do not have to touch them.

Uniform:

It is important that all children wear a jacket/coat they can take on/off, zip or button by themselves as we want to avoid touching belongings where possible.

It is also important that children have footwear they can tie themselves – Velcro is recommended for children who have trouble with laces or buckles.

Homework:

Homework journals have been reintroduced and are used from 1st to 6th class.  Teachers may also choose to use Seesaw to outline what homework is given. Parents/guardians should only use Seesaw to specifically communicate with class teachers about their child’s work/progress in class. All other matters should be directed to Jacinta.

Digital Technology:

Seesaw may be used by teachers to provide class work in the event of the school having to close. Seesaw may also be used to communicate with parents/guardians regarding their child’s work/progress/behaviour in class.

Classroom resources & equipment:

As each class will be considered a “Bubble” i.e. operating by itself and equipment can be shared as children will sanitize their hands and nothing will leave the room.

Other Considerations:

Children should not bring in any individual sanitizers to school – there is a plentiful supply in in the school.

The wearing of face masks is not recommended for children under 13 years of age.

Assembly will take place outdoors, weather permitting. Otherwise Ms. Moran will visit classes to award Dalta na Míosa, Special Commendations and those children for the Golden Book.

There will be no student Council. However, Mr. Moore will establish a GREEEN SCHOOLS COMMITTEE and work with both 4th classes on our next green flag application and other environmental areas.

 

There will be no after school activities taking place in the school (keyboard lessons and Danceworx)

Children will not be sent to the office or other classes on errands.

We have provided extra bike racks to encourage cycling to school and to avoid congestion when children are parking their bikes and scooters.

Traffic cones are placed outside the front gates to stop cars parking there when children are entering and exiting the grounds and to help with social distancing.

Outside coaches:

We will allow any coaching that relates to PE, following all safety protocols.

Swimming lessons:

We are awaiting guidance from the DES regarding the resumption of swimming lessons.