Plan for Re-opening of the School


Plan for Re-opening of the School

Please take the time to read through the Plan below for the safe re-opening of St. Finbarr’s. We look forward to seeing all of the boys back in school next Monday.

Underlying Principles

• The school has a responsibility to make effort to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all members of our school community – children, parents and staff. This plan has been formulated to better
ensure that the school can exercise that duty of care.
• Assuming it is in keeping with public health advice and guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills, it is preferable for all children to return to school for all five days of the school week and for a full school day. This plan has been formulated to achieve that aim.
• It is not possible to eliminate the risk of infection. However, with the co-operation of all members of our school community, it is possible to minimise the risk of the virus being introduced to school and the consequent risk of its spread.
• As well as co-operation, the flexibility and goodwill of all will be required to ensure the plan can be implemented.


• All children return to school and classes operate within a bubble system. Within each class the children may be further divided into pods of 4- 6 pupils with a minimum distance of 1 metre being maintained between pods. This will depend on the class size and teacher preference for activity based learning. The school is split into 5 bubbles:

Blue -Junior Infants/Senior Infants
Green- 1st & 2nd
Yellow- 3rd & 4th
Red- 5th & 6th
Orange- Rang 7 ASD

• The day will include one 10 minute break and one 30 minute break minute break at usual times. Due to large playground the school does not have to stagger breaks. The playground will be segregated into bubble zones. No contact games or football will be allowed.
• Hand sanitiser will be available at all entry points and in all class and support rooms

Drop Off and Collection Times

The Department of Education recommends that children walk or cycle to school. If this is not feasible please park and walk to reduce the amount of traffic around the school gates. There will be no parking available in the school car park. If you do drive to the school a ‘drop and go’ system will operate.

Arrival and Departure

• Children may be dropped off at school from 08.20 a.m. Principal and HSCL and all SNAs will supervise outdoor drop off.
• It would be appreciated if you could drop your child and leave immediately so there will not be congestion problems. Parents are not allowed onto school grounds without an appointment.
• Parents are asked not to gather in social groups talking outside the gates.
• Each boy will go to his allocated entrance/exit bubble. There will be 2 teachers and an SNA at each of these entrances which will open at 08.40 a.m.
• Children will line up in their bubble and they will randomly have their temperature checked. Every boy will have spray sanitiser applied to their hands. Parents are requested to ensure that their child’s
hands are clean upon arrival.
• One teacher will supervise walking the children to their class on their dedicated colour coded route. The other teacher will follow on. The SNA will wait until 8.50 a.m.
• Please ensure that you are on time so we can facilitate safe procedures. All late arrivals must go to the main entrance to the Principal for checking.
• The school is in the process of setting up a Revolut account and will post bank details for payment of Art and Craft/Materials to minimise the handling of cash. If you need to pay by cash, please put money in a sealed envelope with your child’s name and class clearly labelled on the envelope. A receipt will be issued after 72 hours.
• We ask for co-operation with these times as it will mean that the numbers congregating on school grounds at any one time will be minimised. It is really important that your child is on time for this system
to work safely and effectively. Persistent latecomers will be contacted by school management as it will be deemed a risk to the effective running of the school safely.
• Messages for teachers can be sent by email, or by phoning the school office.

Blue group (Junior & Senior Infants) – Main entrance for entry at 8.40am and exit at 1.20 pm (JI on reduced timetable for 2 weeks so different times will apply here. HSCL will inform you about these arrangements). They will use the middle pedestrian gate for entry and exit.

Green Group (1st &2nd class) – Playschool entrance at 8.40am for entry through the vehicular gate. For exit this group will use the main entrance door and the pedestrian gate.

Yellow group (3rd & 4th classes) – This group will use the vehicular entrance and go to the side of the building near the breakfast club where there is a new entrance door. They will enter and exit through this door. There will be bicycle stands nearby for their bikes. All bicycles must be locked. The school will not be responsible for theft of bicycles from the premises.

Red group ( 5th & 6th classes) – These boys will enter and exit via the gate at the Church end of the school. They will use the boxing club entrance. A bicycle rack will be put at the side of that side of the school. Boys can exit via the side gate if they are cycling.

Orange group (Rang 7 ASD) – These boys will be arriving by bus and will be taken to class by escort /SNAs/ class teacher. They will enter and exit via the playschool entrance. The timing of the first few weeks will be different for the new entrants in this grouping and Ms. Conway will liaise with the parents regarding these timings.

Please organise a collection point for your child outside the school gates. Parents are not allowed on the school grounds.

Wellbeing of the School Community:

We will work on the principles recommended by the Department of Education to support the wellbeing of all our pupils and staff. These are as follows:
• A sense of safety.
• A sense of calm.
• A sense of belonging and connectedness to school.
• A sense of self-efficacy and school-community efficacy.
• A sense of hope.

Hygiene and Cleaning:

• Sanitiser dispensers will be installed in every classroom and at entry/exit points. Each class will have a supply of anti – bacterial wipes.
• Hand hygiene will be promoted and encouraged and parents are asked to support us in reinforcing this message.
• Classrooms will be ventilated when children are on yard.
• In accordance with the Department of Education guidelines, the school will be thoroughly cleaned at least once per day. Attention will be focused on frequently touched areas – in particular sink and toilet facilities.

Collection of Children during the School Day

If an adult has to collect a child during the course of the school day, the following arrangements will apply:
• Parent should ring secretary to organise collection of child.
• The child will be brought from their class to the adult by a member of staff.
• When parent arrives wait in the corridor at the secretary’s hatch window.
• When the child is handed over Carmel, the secretary, will make a note of it.
• No adult should enter the school building, unless invited to do so.

Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19

Pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while in the building, the following are the procedures will be implemented:
• Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately
• The child will be accompanied to the designated isolation area, the staffroom, by a member of staff (lead worker/Principal). The staff member will remain at least 2 metres away from the symptomatic child/teacher and will also make sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from the symptomatic child/teacher at all times.
• A mask will be provided for the child/teacher presenting with symptoms, if one is available. He/she should wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises.
• An assessment will be made as to whether the child who is displaying symptoms can immediately be brought home by parents and call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home. Teacher will travel home
if able or arrangements will be made for collection.
• The school will facilitate the child presenting with symptoms to remain in isolation, if they cannot immediately go home, and will assist them by calling their GP.
• The child presenting with symptoms should 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.
• If the child is well enough to go home, the school will arrange for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible, and advise them to inform their GP by phone of their symptoms.
Public transport of any kind should not be used.
• If they are 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 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 should be followed.

Children who should not attend school

If your child is in one of the following categories, they should not attend school:
• Children who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
• Children who have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
• Children who have a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending.
• Children who have been in contact with a person who has a suspected case of Covid-19 and the outcome of the test is pending.
• Children with underlying health conditions who have been directed by a medical professional not to attend school.
• Children who have returned home after travelling abroad and must self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
• Children who are generally unwell.

Non-compliance by parents with any of these procedures will be deemed as a serious health and safety risk to the school community and the Board will not allow entry to a child in these circumstances.

Supporting the Learning of Children who cannot attend school

If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time, the class teacher (and/or the learning support teacher, where relevant) will provide work to support the child’s learning at home.

Impact of a Suspected or Confirmed Case of Covid-19 in a Class

If the school is notified that a person in your child’s class has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19:
• The parents of all children in the class will be notified.
• Public health advice will be sought and followed.

Personal Equipment

• Children will bring their own pens, pencils, colours, rubbers, etc. to school in their own pencil case to avoid the sharing of equipment. This will be left in school.
• All books purchased over the holidays that are not part of the school book rental scheme should be sent in via a disposable bag labelled with your child’s name and class. They will be quarantined for 72
hours. If you have book rental books or other school property that was given to you last term please return it to the school in the same manner.
• It is further requested that all items have the child’s name on them for ease of identification.
• There will be a no homework policy for the month of September.
• Children are not allowed to bring anything into school other than their coats, which will be kept on their chairs. Lunches must be school lunches. If your child has dietary issues a letter from the GP or consultant must be provided and special arrangement will be made in serious circumstances of dietary conditions such as diabetes or coeliac/ gluten intolerance. This is seen as a necessary health and safety procedure. Extra lunches have been ordered for the first week for children who removed themselves from the school lunch list. Please explain to your child that it is only for serious dietary reason that food will be allowed in from home and being a picky eater is not a valid excuse.

Shared Equipment

By necessity, some classroom equipment needs to be shared including tablets, laptops and the equipment used for structured activities and play in Infant classrooms. Cleaning of such shared equipment with wipes or other cleaning products will take place at regular intervals to minimise the risk of the spread of infection.


Children will have two outdoor breaks during the day. Yards will be divided so that class bubbles stay together. Yards will be supervised by class teachers, learning support teachers and SNAs working within those bubbles.

Learning Support

In keeping with our Special Education policy, learning support will be provided by a blended approach of in-class support and withdrawal. The provision of support will be organised to ensure our support teachers will work within the confines of a bubble:
• Where a support teacher is working alongside a class teacher in a classroom, both teachers must be mindful of maintaining social distance from one another.
• Where children from receive support in one of the SET rooms, social distancing of 1 metre will be maintained between each child in the group.
• The tables and chairs in SET rooms will be wiped clean in between different groups attending.


All school staff will wear face coverings throughout the day. Staff who are attending to particular care needs or who are administering first aid will wear appropriate PPE including gloves and face masks.

Teacher Absence and Substitution

In the event that teacher is unable to attend school, every effort will be made to secure a substitute teacher for the class. If a substitute teacher is not available, it is not appropriate for the class to be divided into groups and accommodated in other classes. In such circumstances, it may not be possible for the class to attend on that day. If that is the case, as much notice as possible will be given to parents.


Physical education will take place outdoors when the weather allows. Each bubble will be allocated a different day for use of the hall.

Extra-curricular Activities

For the immediate future there will be no extra-curricular activities as it would be impossible to keep pods together. However, this will be further explored at a later date.

Breakfast Club

We are looking for solutions to how we might provide for Breakfast Club. Normally it does not start until October. We have received funding to operate this but we may have to carry it over till next year as there will be issues with children from different bubbles mixing in the same space. We will look for ways of getting around this and may consult you in the next couple of weeks to see how many children will seek to avail of the service. We would like to provide the service but health and safety is our main priority.

Thank you for taking time to read this plan. Public health advice may change at any time.