Holy Cross Mercy Return to School
Covid 19 Response Document

Underlying Principles
The school has a responsibility to make an 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 cooperation 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.

To assist with the return to school we have established 5 Zones within the school

Zone 1 Senior corridor upstairs

Zone 2 Senior corridor downstairs

Sone 3 Junior corridor downstairs

Zone 4 Junior corridor upstairs

Zone 5 Sunshine classes

All children return to school and classes operate within a bubble system.
School starting time for everyone is 8.45am. We are available to receive pupils from 8.30am.

The school is split into 5 zones with each group having two finishing times – 1.25pm for Infant Classes and 2.25pm for classes First to Sixth.

The day will include 2 x 20 minute breaks.

Within each class from 3rd to 6th, the children will be further divided into pods, with a minimum distance of 1 metre being maintained between pods, where possible.

Hand sanitiser will be available at all entry points and in all class and support rooms.

Entrances: Children will go straight to their classrooms, observing social distancing, where their teacher will be there to welcome them. They will sanitize their hands on entry to the classroom.

Door A:
Mrs. Healy – 6th class, Mr. O’Sullivan – 5th/6th class, Ms. Trant – 5th class, Ms. McGillycuddy – 4th class, will follow the yellow signs. Please watch entry point video.

Door B:
M.s Sugrue – 4th class, Ms. Behan – 2nd class, Mrs. Counihan 2nd class, will follow the blue signs. Please watch entry point video.

Door B
Mrs. Davern – 3rd class, Ms. McMonagle – 1st class, follow the red signs
Mr. O’Riordan – 1st class, Mrs. Hickey – 1st class, Ms. Arthur – Senior Infants, Mrs. Spillane & Mrs. Murphy – Senior Infants follow the red signs. Please watch entry point video.


Door C:
Ms. Sheehy – Junior Infants & Ms. Coleman – Junior Infants will follow the green signs. Please watch entry point video

Door D:
Access to our Sunshine Classes

Arrival at school

At present we are aiming to avoid staggered opening and closing times as we appreciate that this is a particular challenge for parents.

We ask for co-operation with the school opening and closing times as it will mean that the numbers of children congregating on school grounds at any one time will be minimised.
No adults, other than staff members, should enter the school grounds.
Messages for teachers can be sent by email, Seesaw or by phoning the school office.
Social distancing must be observed by all adults at the school gates

End of School Day

Children from Junior Infants classes will be escorted by their teacher down the ramp at 1.20pm and will wait inside the gate. They will then be released to their parents/guardians.

The Senior Infants classes will line up in the ball court at 1.25pm and will move down to the ramp as soon as it is free and will be released to their parents/guardians.
In order to implement this safely, parents will be required to be punctual.

Children from senior floor upstairs Zone 1will be escorted to the school gate at 2.25pm via Door E and exit via the staff car park.

Children from senior floor downstairs Zone 2will be escorted to the school gate at 2.25pm via Door A and exit via the wall side of the ramp.

Children from Mrs Davern’s 3rd class and Ms McMonagle’s First Class will exit Door B and will be escorted to the gate via the wall side of the ramp at 2.25pm.

Children from Mrs Hickey’s First Class and Mr O’Riordan’s First Class will exit via Door C and will be escorted to the school gate via the grass side of the ramp at 2.25pm.

Children from 3rd to 6th class are encouraged to meet their parents at one of the nearby car parks (High St & Rock Rd)

Adults and children need to remember that social distancing continues after school hours. Children are advised to go straight home as per the current guidelines.

Parental Responsibilities – In order to keep us all safe we would really appreciate your cooperation with the following;

Parents must arrive on time for dropping off and collection of their child.
Only parents or carers who are well and have no symptoms of COVID19 or who have completed the required quarantine time of 14 days are allow drop off and collect children.
Any parent who is in a high risk category should not drop off or collect children in order to protect themselves.
Parents are not to congregate in groups.
Parents who are permitted on school grounds (Sunshine room and preschool) must wear suitable face coverings.

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
When the adult arrives at the school, they should phone the office and wait outside.
The child will be brought from their class to the adult by a member of staff.
The adult who is collecting will be asked to sign the child out.
No adult should enter the school building without prior permission from the principal.

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:
in line with current advice we have designated the principal’s office as the “isolation” area as it is close to the main entrance and is well ventilated.
Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately.
The child will be accompanied to the designated isolation area- via the isolation route 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.
A mask will be provided for the child presenting with symptoms. 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.
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.

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) suggested activities to support the child’s learning at home will be shared with parents.

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
In so far as possible, it is requested that children from 1st to 6th Class will bring their own pens, pencils, colours, rubbers, etc., to school in their own pencil case to avoid the sharing of equipment. Children are requested to have one pencil case in school and one at home.
It is further requested that all items have the child’s name on them for ease of identification.
For children in Junior and Senior Infants, the school will provide a container which will hold each child’s personal belongings etc., and which will be labelled with their name.
All children should bring a zip-lock bag with a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a packet of tissues.

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.

Each class bubble will have access to the yards at their allotted break times.
Yards will be supervised by class teachers, learning support teachers and SNA’s 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 3rd to 6th Class 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.

Where social distancing cannot be maintained, PPE will be worn by staff in general, staff who are attending to particular care needs or who are administering first aid will wear appropriate PPE including gloves and face masks. The Board of Management has provided visors for all staff members.

Teacher Absence and Substitution
In the event that the 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.

Where possible, PE should take place outdoors. A decision on the use of equipment will be made by staff at a later date.

Extra-curricular Activities
The possibility of facilitating extra-curricular activities will be explored. However, it would not be recommended that children from different bubbles would participate in extracurricular activities at the same time. Further updates will be provided in September.

Code of Behaviour
Our code of behaviour is on our website. We will amend areas of this in line with the new Covid 19 protocols as the need arises.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the children will wear full uniform:
Girls: grey pinafore (not skirts), red shirt, red jumper (not cardigans) red/black tights, black shoes, and red and grey tie
Boys: grey pants and school jumper, red shirt, black shoes and red and grey tie.

On Tuesdays and Thursday-School tracksuit to be worn
It is important that the children’s nails are kept short and clean and Long hair to be tied back