4th Update: Reopening Eyrecourt NS

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Following our Staff Meeting on Monday and a 3rd Board Meeting yesterday evening, our School Response Plan has been published. You can read it here.

In today's update I will guide you through our plan so you and your child/children can visualise what our return to school will look like.

Return to Work Protocols for Staff
Similar to all workplaces, staff of Eyrecourt NS have "Return to Work" requirements: training videos, RTW form and a statutory obligation to familiarise themselves with all guidelines and procedures, including Eyrecourt NS Response Plan. 
Mrs Barrett is the Lead Worker Representative and Patricia is the Deputy LWR. 
Signage has been purchased and will be visible outside and inside the school. 

Section 3. General advice to prevent the spread of the virus
This section in the response plan is very important for parents.
The symptoms of the virus are:

  • High temperature
  • Persistent Cough
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • Loss of taste or smell
As stated in the guidelines: 
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a school is to minimise the risk or introduction of the disease into the school setting in the first place.


Basically, if your child is sick in the morning, get it checked out before sending them to school.  There is further advice in the plan.

Section 4. Managing the Risk of Covid-19
After your child's first day back they will probably tell you they spent a lot of time washing their hands!
Hand sanitisers have been installed all over the school building and pupils will sanitise their hands every time they pass their classroom door. 
In addition pupils from 2nd-6th class should have their own little personal bottle at their desk to save them having to walk to the classroom sanitiser each time.
Pupils are seated in Pods at 1m distance from each other (3rd-6th class). 
Teachers have a 2m distance from their work area (desk/whiteboard) and pupils.  Teachers will be wearing clear visors while teaching.  Teachers will also have a portable screen to use when working with groups or individual pupils to enable them to help pupils in their work. On occasion teachers might have to wear a mask, if they were administering first aid or had to be close to a pupil.
The school will be cleaned each evening, in addition teachers will maintain cleanliness of their own work area. Busy areas e.g. classroom door will be wiped during the day also by the teacher. 
Adults entering Eyrecourt NS grounds, must wear face coverings. 
Visitors must have an appointment. 

Section 9. Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19
This area might cause a bit of anxiety particularly as "Isolation rooms" have been discussed in the media.
This procedure only comes into play if a child is at school and displays symptoms of Covid.  If parents are following all the guidance from HSE, it is hopefully unlikely that we would have to enact this procedure. 
This is the procedure taken directly from the plan:


Staff and pupils should not attend school if displaying symptoms of Covid 19. The following outlines what to do if a suspected case arises in the school.
Staff members will be required to manage a suspected case in line with the protocol and training.
Gerardine Moran Barrett (Patricia Dunican) is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the protocol to deal with suspected cases have been adhered to.

Suspected Case
If a child is displaying one or more of the following symptoms:
 Persistent Coughing
 Temperature (Thermometer available if high temperature suspected)
 Breathless
 Loss of smell/taste
         then Covid 19 protocols should be initiated. 

1. Staff member contacts Gerardine (Patricia if Gerardine is not available)
2. LWR (Lead Worker Representative) takes the office phone and list of parent contacts into the Isolation Area
3. LWR puts on appropriate PPE and collects child from location
4. The child is taken to the Isolation Area and given a mask to wear
5. LWR makes contact with parent/guardian and arranges for collection

Isolation Area
The library will be used as an isolation area. The following items will be kept in this area:
 Tissues
 Hand sanitiser
 Disinfectant/wipes
 Gloves/Masks
 Waste Bags
 Bins
If there is more than one suspected case these should still be isolated in the library but at a 2m distance from each other.

Isolating a Person and Arranging for them to Leave School
1. LWR will accompany the affected person to the isolation area while physical distancing from them (2m).
2. The affected person will be given a mask to wear and seated in the isolation area.
3. Contact should be made with parent/guardian. Siblings should go home as normal (not with the affected child) to avoid close contact. Under no circumstances can a pupil use public or school transport to travel home if they are a suspected case of COVID-19.
4. The parent/guardian should be advised to contact their GP
5. A disposable mask should also be worn by the affected person when exiting the building.
6. Staff – if the staff member feels well enough they can make their own way home immediately.
7. If the person is too sick to go home or advice is required call 112 and inform them the person is a Covid 19 suspect.
8. The affected person should be advised to avoid touching other people, surfaces and objects.
9. The affected person should cover their mouth and nose with disposable tissue(s) when they cough or sneeze, and put the tissue in the bin.
10. The affected person should be advised not to go to their GP surgery or any pharmacy/hospital
11. The affected person should continue wearing the face mask until they reach home.
Follow up
12. An assessment of the incident will take place to identify any follow-up actions needed.
13. Staff will be available to provide advice and assistance if contacted by the HSE.
14. Children can return to school once:
a) medical advice has been sought and they have been advised that they may return to school or
b) they have a negative test and have been symptom free for 48 hours
Note: Siblings of the affected child may not come to school until either a) or b) at 14 has occurred.
Cleaning
15. The isolation area will be out-of-use until cleaned and disinfected as soon as is practical after the affected person has left the building.
16. Arrangements will be made to clean and disinfect any classroom space where the staff or pupils were located.


Hopefully as we are a small school in a rural area, this procedure will not have to be enacted.
It really highlights the importance of checking your child each morning and if in doubt, err on the side of caution.  

Section 13. Preparation for School Reopening
In this section we really explain the practicalities. 
Morning drop off and evening pick up are difficult because we cannot have any groups conregating. 
This week, parents could decide with their child how they will get to school. Walking or cycling would be excellent and is recommended if pupils live close enough. Many parents park at the square and let their children walk on the path from there. 

School begins at 9.20am and pupils should not be on school grounds any earlier than 9:15am.
Mr Barretts pupils will use the left gate and line up at that door. 
Ms Treacy's and Ms McGraths pupils should use the right hand side gate and line up at their doors. 
Pupils will see cones on the morning to line behind. 

Parents collecting infants must wear facemasks entering school grounds and wait at the main door for 2pm collection.  We request that parents are on time as Ms McGrath has to return to her 1st class. 

For evening collection we ask that parents pre-arrange meeting points with their children so there is no waiting or congegating at the gate. 
There will be staggered leaving starting with 1st class at 2:55pm.  Pupils have to walk directly to their car or meeting spot, there can be no waiting at the gate.

Bus pupils will go directly onto the waiting bus. The pupils who travel by bus will sit in the same seat each day with their family members. 

This is all explained in further detail on the plan


A few further updates:
  • The Infant open day had to be changed to 15min slots to comply with guidelines. We look forward to meeting our new pupils tomorrow.
  • Junior infants will go home each day at 12:00 until September 18th. 
  • Pupils 2nd-6th interested in playing soccer should have boots/old runners ready for the pitch. Every pupil should have a spare pair of socks in their schoolbag each day. 
  • Pupil slippers from last year will be out on the corridoors next week to take home. After that they'll be put into Cash for Clobber.
  • Pupils should bring in last years rental books, workbooks and copies to help teachers assess where to begin/catch up. 
  • There are videos explaining the return to school for pupils and information for parents here
  • Teachers will be in school on Monday to do a trial run! There could be some updates Monday afternoon. 
This can be a stressful time for parents with all the media attention and the rumours and frenzy around the return to school. Rest assured that we are following all guidance and protocols so that our pupils can return to a happy, calm learning environment. 
As always I am available at etreacy@eyrecourtns.ie or at the school for any queries.

Kind regards,
Éilis Treacy
Principal


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