Saint Brigid’s National School, is a primary school situated in the centre of Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Our mission is to provide the highest quality education for all our children in a happy, safe and stimulating Christian environment, focusing on their academic, social, personal, moral and spiritual development to help them be the best they can be.

COVID-19 Response Plan for St. Brigid’s NS, Greystones

RESPONSE PLAN: Protocols in place for the safe reopening of the school

1.0 Planning & preparing for a safe return to school: Measures in place

2.0 Communication

3.0 Wellbeing

4.0 The Curriculum

5.0 Special Education Needs

6.0 Future proofing 

Introduction

The School Covid19 Response Plan for St. Brigid’s NS, Greystones is in line with

  • Department of Education guidance
  • the Return to Work Safely Protocol and public health guidance from HSE re limiting spread of the virus, hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • and the specific requirements of the school

The Covid-19 Response Plan is designed to support the staff and Board of Management (BOM) put measures in place that to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the school environment.

The Covid-19 Response Plan details the policies and practices necessary for a school to reopen and to prevent the introduction and spread of Covid-19 in the school environment.

It is important that the resumption of school-based teaching and learning and the reopening of school facilities complies with the public health advice and guidance documents prepared by the Department. Doing so minimises the risk to pupils, staff and others. The Response Plan supports the sustainable reopening of school where the overriding objective is

  • to protect the health of staff and pupils
  • while promoting the educational and development needs of the pupils in the school.

The COVID-19 response plan will be updated in line with the public health advice.

In line with the Return to Work Safely Protocol, the key to a safe and sustainable return to work, and reopening of schools requires strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between the BOM, staff, pupils and parents.

The assistance and cooperation of all staff, pupils, parents, contractors and visitors is critical to the success of the plan in order for the school to re-open safely on 26th August 2020 for staff, and 27th August 2020 for students.

St. Brigid’s NS, Greystones understand that all school records and data must be maintained and processed in compliance with the GDPR and the Data Protection Acts. The responsibility for compliance with the legislation rests with each school (or ETB) in their role as data controller.

The information provided in this document is correct at the time of publication.

August 27th 2020.

RESPONSE PLAN Before reopening schools for the 2020/21 school year  St. Brigid’s NS has the following protocols in place:
1.0  Planning

&

Preparing

for

Returning

to school safely

 

 

 

a)    School COVID-19 Policy Statement completed and ratified by BOM on the 12/08/2020. This policy outlines the commitment of the school to implement the plan and help prevent the spread of the virus. The policy will be signed and dated by the chairperson and principal of the BOM and brought to the attention of students, parents and staff. Schools must have a COVID-19 policy in place prior to the reopening of schools for the 2020/21 school year

b)    Return to Work Forms distributed. Forms to be returned at least three days before staff returned to work (23rd August) and reviewed.

c)    Arrangements made to keep up to date with public health advice and any updates. Provision made to pass on this information in a timely manner to staff, pupils, parents and stakeholders as required;

d)    Once ‘Return to Work Forms’ received, Induction Training online is provided for staff. Information provided: latest 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, the Covid-19 response plan.

 

Staff will 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. This will be ongoing and will be updated 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 Response Plan, Covid control measures or his/her duties, he/she should contact Principal, Lead Worker Representative (LWR) or Assistant Worker Representative.

e)    Contact Tracing Log is located at secretary’s office. Visitors to school will be limited on account of Covid-19. Permission will be needed from the school for anyone to visit the school. If there is an urgent reason a parent needs to visit, they are asked to contact the school first.

f)     School Management Checklist has been completed .

g)    Information on how to deal with a suspected case displayed in school so as to be to hand and circulated to staff. Confidentially important when this happens.

h)    Parents asked if their child is unwell to keep them at home and to err on the side of caution (newsletter emailed on Aladdin Connect and posted on school website)

i)        Lead Worker Representatives and Assistant Worker Representatives have been elected by the staff. The LWRs are Sile Heneghan and Orla Teehan. The Assistant LWRs are Helana Moore and Sharleen Hogan.

j)        Aide appointed. St. Brigid’s NS, Greystones has less than 500 students so an Aide was appointed for five days work to help with the reopening of the school.

k)    Health and Safety Risk Assessment compiled and action plan developed.

l)      Emergency Plan developed in order to review the school’s procedures involving fire drills, first aid, accidents and other occurrences to consider any new risks that arise due to the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan. Any changes to the school’s existing emergency procedures will be included in the school’s safety statement.

m)  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 and visitors as far as possible within the school. These measures will be reviewed as they are implemented to check that they are working. A more formal review will be conducted at the end of September. 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.

e.g. Social distancing between students will not be necessary from Junior Infants to 2nd. From 3rd Class to 6th students are required to maintain one metre distance from each other. It is recommended that where possible a teacher should maintain a distance of two metres from students Junior Infants to 6th and from each other. The Department of Education advised (7th August 2020) where it is not possible for teachers to maintain two metres social distancing in their classrooms, they should wear face masks or visors as appropriate

In order to facilitate social distancing an additional school gate has been opened on Trafalgar Road, near Mooney’s Shop. There will now be four entrances in total.

·         Entrance 1 is for Rooms 10, 11, 12 and 19 and RECEPTION

·         Entrance 2 is for Rooms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

·         Entrance 3 is for Roome 14, 15, 16, 17 and 20

·         Entrance 4 is for Staff only

 

The school yard has been divided into three Zones. Class bubbles will only be allowed to play within their designated Zone.

Break times are staggered:

·         Sos – Infants to 3rd (10.15 – 10.25) and 4th to 6th (10.30 – 10.40)

·         Lón – Infants to 3rd (12.00 – 12.30) and 4th-6th (12.40 – 1.10)

 

Open windows and good ventilation will be important. There will be signage on display with information about COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread. This will be provided by the Department of Education and Skills

The hours allocated to cleaning have been increased by over 30% from 40 hours per week to 65 hours per week.

Staff 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 control measures shall continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis.

2.0 Communication

 

The key to a safe and sustainable return to work and reopening of schools is strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between the BOM, staff, students and parents. Relevant information concerning to the return to school and the safe operation of the school, will be communicated to staff, parents and students.

 

Communication with parents and staff will be by email and on Aladdin. Parents and staff will communicate information to children in an age appropriate way. In addition, advice and information will be given to children by the principal over the school intercom. Information will also be available on the school website https://www.saintbrigidsgreystones.ie/ It is important that all parents are signed up to Aladdin Connect and that they check the school website to keep up to date.

3.0 Wellbeing

 

During this time children, parents and teachers will be getting used to new routines and changes in school on account of Covid-19. The management and staff are conscious of the wellbeing of all.

 

Students: Teachers with the support of parents will help the children return to school. Routine and the familiar will be important. So too will be the activities children associate with school that they enjoy. ‘Weaving Wellbeing’ is a programme used in the school from 2nd to 6th. Infant classes will also have SPHE lessons with their wellbeing in mind.

Parents: Where parents have concerns they think the school could help with, they are invited to contact the class teacher or Principal, depending on the nature of their concern. If circumstances change for a child at home, it is always helpful to let the teacher know.

Staff will continue to work as a team supporting one another under the guidance of the School Principal. As instructed in the Roadmap for Reopening Schools Lead Worker Representatives and Assistant LWRs have been elected from the staff. Staff would ask parents to be understanding of the new situation we are all adapting too. Communication will be the key to understanding, good relationships and wellbeing.

4.0 The Curriculum

 

The management and staff are also conscious of the importance of the school curriculum and learning at this time. Students have been engaging with ‘Distance Learning’ since March 2020. Teachers will do their best to balance the need for ‘catch up’ with the 3Rs on account of time missed with the need for the children to ‘catch up’ socially and the affective domain.

 

Assessment of where the students are in terms of learning may be a starting point. Revision of what would have been the Summer term’s work in their previous class may also be called for. Unfortunately, there may be less active or collaborative learning, less group work, less learning through play, using manipulatives etc. and more ‘chalk and talk’. There may be a need for ‘distance learning’ for children with underlying conditions.

 

Staff will work together to do their best overcome the limitations caused by COVID -19 and prepare for the various possibilities that may lie ahead.

5.0  Special Educational Needs

 

 

There may be children whose behavioural/sensory needs are such they need to be prioritised. The Special Education Teacher/Team will need to work with them for some part of the day as part of re-establishing their routine and relationships. SET can work in pairs so that when one SET is doing this the other is available for deployment that may be required in these unprecedented times.
Both Class and SET can see that children with diagnoses like dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia are differentiated for sufficiently in class. This is more important than ever before. Support can be supplemented with technology at home and at school e.g. a child with an Irish exemption working on programmes during Irish time e.g. touch typing.
Some of SEN children (with parental encouragement) did exceptionally well with using online programmes during the COVID closures. There may well be a value in upskilling SEN students in using these programmes in the coming term. It would teach them valuable computer skills and give them an advantage if ‘distance learning’ became necessary again.In order to re-open the school there may be a change in the short term to the level of support/face to face teaching that SET can give children in their caseload. A whole school approach to ADHD, developing gross motor skills would have all children building movement breaks into their day. Using the outdoors more on account of COVID-19 has been recommended. In addition children’s sensory needs will need to be met to help them readjust to being back in school.SET will need to connect with the children in their caseload and build a supportive relationship with them. This is REALLY important. However, numbers in the groups taken by SET will need to be smaller to enable social distancing. SET could not be able to work with groups of students from any more than one class at a time as children have to remain within their own ‘bubble’. Perhaps the solution would be to timetable a shorter time with students e.g. 20 minutes instead of so that each student could attend SET a couple of times a week.It would seem that in-class initiatives, station teaching, Phonics Blast and Maths Blast will not be possible at this time and that withdrawal rather than in-class teaching will be how SET operate. Whole school approaches and teamwork between class teachers and SET will be key as will communication and collaboration with parents. The importance of all children reading/being read to at home can never be underestimated.The Department of Education has said that for some children with SEN maintaining physical distancing may not be practical or appropriate. Parents/guardians should have a heightened awareness of signs, symptoms or changes in baseline which suggests illness/COVID-19 infection and where symptoms are present children should not attend school. 
5.0

Conclusion

 

 

We do not know what the year ahead has in store, but the staff of St. Brigid’s would aspire to work together with parents and children to respond to whatever it may bring. All we can do is follow the safety guidelines, give of our best and prepare for whatever the new school year may bring.

UPDATED to include: Click HERE to download the Risk Assessment for St. Brigid’s NS, Greystones. This is a Working Document. It is subject to change – as the situation and guidelines from the HSE and DES. 

 

Originally posted August 12th 2020