Not hugely. In line with DES guidelines, classrooms will be laid out to ensure 1 metre distancing between groups of children. Children will usually be seated in groups of 4. This is the normal practice so the children will be used to this. There will be less furniture in the rooms and the rooms will contain nothing other than resources necessary for the school day. There will also be less movement between groups in the classroom. Interaction with other classes will be limited. The DES also recognises “that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors” and that physical distancing “is not a pre-requisite to reopening”. We will, then, be taking a very practical view of this and we acknowledge that the level to which children understand this will vary greatly depending on the age of the children. There are some pictures of classrooms here.
Firstly, pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.
There is a designated isolation room in the school for any person displaying signs of COVID-19. Parents / guardians of the child will be contacted immediately. The DES advice is that children who have symptoms should immediately “be brought home by parents who will call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home”. If the child is very unwell the school will call emergency services.
The current advice is that where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 amongst school staff or pupils, schools need to maintain both staff and pupil confidentiality at all times and must follow the instructions of HSE Public Health.
HSE Public Health will inform any staff/parents or students who come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process; contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made; and advise on the appropriate action, on a case-by-case basis, that should be taken vis-à-vis the operation of the school.
Unfortunately, no. This will, for the moment at least, only be possible in exceptional circumstances. The Department of Education and Skills advises that “arrangements for necessary visitors such as contractors and parents with be restricted to essential purposes and limited to those who have obtained prior approval from the principal”.
No. It may be necessary, for many reasons, to change the seating arrangements during the school year. We will, of course, try to be as consistent as possible in relation to where children and adults work and will generally make changes when there is a natural break
The uniform and tracksuit remain the same. We have had a number of queries in relation to suggestions that uniforms must be washed every day. This is not the case.
Yes. All staff will undertake and complete Covid-19 Induction Training prior to returning to school. The aim of such training is to ensure that staff have full knowledge and understanding of the 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.
Yes. The school will be cleaned each day in line with HSE advice. Also, the school will be deep cleaned before reopening. Each classroom has hand washing / disinfecting materials and proper hygiene measures will be consistent in all classes.
In line with DES guidelines, children will wash their hands on arrival in school, before eating or drinking, after using the toilet, after playing outdoors, when their hands are physically dirty and when they cough or sneeze.
The DES will work to provide more detailed advice in relation to these issues.
No. But they will have, where necessary, access to toys and other resources in school which will be cleaned regularly.