This plan is subject to continuous review and may change accordingly.

A report on Covid-19 procedures is presented as part of the Principal’s Report at every Board of Management meeting.

Introduction

Carrignafoy Community College is committed to implementing appropriate measures to protect against, prepare for, respond to and recover from COVID-19 related disruptions when they arise.

This plan sets out a summary of measures taken or planned by Carrignafoy Community College to identify risks and defend against the spread of COVID-19. Carrignafoy Community College’s COVID-19 response comprises not just the information contained in this document, but contingency plans, risk assessments, training documentation, email and text message communications, meetings, protocols, checklists and advisory documents.

At all times, Carrignafoy Community College has consulted the up to date public health advice and implemented the measures announced by the government, the Department of Education and Skills, Cork ETB and other appropriate statutory agencies in the development and implementation of this plan.

NB: This plan is a living document and will be regularly updated as procedures are reviewed.

Contents

  1. Communication
  2. Risk Identification and Mitigation
  3. Ongoing Risk Management
  4. Site Recovery

 

COMMUNICATION

Covid-19 information and information relating to the activation of this plan will be provided to teachers via staff email, text message, Teams and the school website. Information that needs to be provided to students during the school day will be conveyed through morning class assembly and through intercom announcements. Information will be available to parents via the school website and through regular Sway/text message communication from the school. A report will be provided to the Board of Management via the Principal’s Report at every meeting. A copy of the school’s Risk Assessment is also available on the main school noticeboard.

 

RISK IDENTIFICATION & MITIGATION

Carrignafoy Community College has followed the government, HSE and Cork ETB advice in assessing the risks associated with Covid-19 and has endeavoured to mitigate these risks insofar as possible, making every effort to follow all official guidance.

 

ONGOING RISK MANAGEMENT

Carrignafoy Community College is following the latest public health advisories issued by the government, HSE and other government agencies as required. Carrignafoy Community College’s protocol for returning to school and managing ongoing risk is based on the government Return to Work Safely Protocol and the government’s Covid-19 response plan for re-opening schools. The management of health and safety risks associated with managing schools during COVID-19 can be categorised as follows:

  1. Return to School Risk Management Procedures
  2. Ongoing Risk Management
  3. Case Management Procedures

 

Return to School Risk Management Procedures

Carrignafoy Community College has identified areas of risk in respect of the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and is implementing the following controls in order to allow for a safe return to work where necessary.

COVID-19 Compliance Officer and Worker Representatives:

Compliance Officers and later, Lead Worker Representatives were appointed as appropriate within Carrignafoy Community College to assist in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Lead Worker Representatives: Oliver Collins, Laurie O’Driscoll.

Training and Communications:

All staff were required to review COVID-19 Induction Training material prior to their return to the workplace and to confirm that they had completed same. This included information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, how it is spread, hygiene controls, use of PPE, what to do if an employee or other person becomes unwell while at work etc. Communications are provided to staff in relation to COVID-19 issues, via workplace signage, email, virtual meetings, Teams, briefing documents etc.

Self Declaration Forms:

All employees were required to complete a self-declaration form prior to their return to work. At-risk or vulnerable staff were encouraged to use the Self Declaration form to inform the Principal to enable appropriate supports to be put in place for them, and were also advised to report to Medmark as per procedures.

Hand and Respiratory Hygiene:

All members of the school community were provided with training as to hand and respiratory hygiene measures as part of the COVID-19 Induction Training and are expected to comply with same.

Building Management and School Routines:

Various adjustments were made to the building and to school routines ahead of the return to school, and are made on a continuing basis as risks arise. Changes completed to date include but are not limited to:

  • Installation of new security doors at the main entrance and keypad access to all other entry/exit doors.
  • Entry/exit doors designated for specific year groups.
  • Hot water installed in all student and staff toilets. Entry to student toilets is strictly monitored to ensure social distancing.
  • Sanitising stations installed at all entry/exit doors.
  • Sanitiser dispensers installed in all rooms.
  • Blinds installed in all rooms to ensure effectiveness of overhead projector use, with a view to cutting down on photocopying.
  • Corridors divided with hazard tape and all students to keep left.
  • Installation of signage throughout the school.
  • Starter PPE packs supplied to all staff and students, and an emergency supply of PPE always available.
  • 1st Year students assigned to base classrooms in a designated area of the school to minimise contact with other year groups.
  • Extra supervision in place at breaktimes and during the school day.
  • Changing rooms closed and students to wear PE gear on PE days.
  • Purchase of new whiteboards in the event that the school canteen or PE hall needed to be used for classes.
  • Purchase of new single desks for classrooms which previously had double desks.
  • Designation of an isolation room.
  • Installation of Perspex dividers in computer rooms.
  • Purchase of new benches for woodwork room.
  • Purchase of compressing sanitiser machines for areas which are difficult to sanitise.

As part of the school’s Digital Strategy, tablet computers have been made available to all teachers from the start of the 2020/21 school year, and projectors installed in all rooms.

Travelling To and From School:

All employees and students are required to follow HSA/HSE guidelines on travelling to and from school, and to implement social distancing measures and regulations for use of public transport.

Mental Health and Wellbeing:

Carrignafoy Community College has made all employees aware of the Employee Assistance Programme, and facilitates the circulation of information and initiatives related to wellbeing at various levels. Student support is provided through the Wellbeing team, the Student Support Team, HSCL and SCP.

All staff are encouraged to speak to the Principal or CETB HR manager should they require additional supports during this period.

 

Ongoing Risk Management Measures

The following measures will be implemented in Carrignafoy Community College to minimise risk of infection:

Mask-Wearing

All students and staff are required to wear masks as per Department of Education and Skills guidance. From February 2021, medical grade masks are supplied to SNAs and SET staff, and extended to all staff for as long as resources allow.

LWR Meetings

The Lead Worker Representatives meet with management weekly.

Visiting the School

Parents are discouraged from calling to the school without an appointment. No other visits to the school can be facilitated without appointment. Speakers, inspectors etc are required to complete a Visitor Health Declaration form ahead of their visits. During Level 5 periods, in-person meetings can only be facilitated in exceptional circumstances.

Contact Logs

All visitors are required to complete contact logs to facilitate contact tracing where it may be required, and submit as per the Contact Log Procedure.

Hand Hygiene & Sneeze/Cough Etiquette

Staff and students are encouraged and reminded to wash/sanitise hands regularly and to observe safe coughing and sneezing etiquette. NB: Dirty hands (eg after PE or other activities) should always be washed – sanitiser does not clean dirty hands.

Physical and Social Distancing:

Physical and social distancing measures will be implemented as follows.

  1. All adults are required to maintain a distance of 2 metres between themselves and others at all times.
  2. A no-handshake policy is in place and any close contact should be avoided
  3. Signage is displayed in all locations
  4. High traffic areas such as bathrooms, kitchen/tea stations, areas surrounding printers and photocopiers have been assessed and appropriate hygiene and distancing measures implemented, eliminating the risk in so far as is possible. Individuals are required to comply with all such measures.
  5. Staff are required to bring their own utensils for eating, and encouraged to leave the premises at lunchtime where possible.
  6. Staff who cannot leave the premises at lunchtime have been assigned to one of four rooms to eat lunch, in which strict social distancing measures should be observed at all times.
  7. The staffroom has been adjusted to limit work stations available for staff use during free classes.
  8. Face-to-face meetings are to be avoided unless absolutely necessary and appropriate technology used for meetings, even if all required staff are on site. All whole-staff meetings are virtual.
  9. Where absolutely necessary, face-to-face meetings should take place in meeting rooms only after their capacity and layout has been assessed and restricted in line with physical distancing requirements.
  10. Student desks in classrooms are 1m apart, with 1.5m-2m between the teacher and the students.
  11. Where there is more than one teacher/SNA in a classroom, the maximum physical distance should be observed.
  12. Team teaching is only utilised where necessary.
  13. Student mask-breaks are provided for but must be strictly monitored and controlled.
  14. All teachers and SNAs are aware of the protocols and guidance supplied by the DES and HSE.
  15. Students are encouraged to leave the school building at break and lunchtimes on dry days. Ongoing efforts are in place to try to minimise social contact inside the building at such times, but this is hampered by lack of suitable space and limited staff available for supervision. This situation is under constant review.
  16. From January 2021, the school lunchbreak is being reduced to 30 minutes to assist with the above.

Cleaning and Sanitisation

The following measures have been implemented.

  1. A cleaning protocol and schedule is in place. All work areas must be cleaned at regular intervals using appropriate cleaning materials.
  2. Two extra after-school cleaners have been hired.
  3. Cleaning and maintenance staff are informed as to cleaning protocol in place and provided with details of modified cleaning routines and intervals to ensure thorough and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. Identification of frequent touch points has taken place.
  4. Hand sanitiser and appropriate cleaning supplies have been provided for all work rooms, including supplies for individuals to sanitise their desks/work stations. All staff and students are required to sanitise desks before and after use. Sanitising procedures are in place for computer rooms, practical rooms and student portable tablets.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The school supplies gloves and other PPE as necessary. Staff and students are required to provide their own masks, but an emergency supply is available in the school office. From February 2021, medical grade masks are supplied to SNAs and SET staff, and extended to all staff for as long as resources allow.

Enhanced Supervision

The Covid Supervision Grant has been utilised to put enhanced supervision in place before and after school, at lunch breaks and to monitor toilets/corridors during class time where possible.

Stay-at-Home Policy

All members of the school community have been advised that if they have any symptoms of Covid-19, they should stay at home and contact their GP.

Teaching and Learning

A number of adjustments have been made to teaching and learning to minimise Covid-19 risk, including:

  1. Greater use of ICT in the classroom.
  2. Teachers advised to stay at the top of the room when teaching.
  3. Greater use of Microsoft Teams, along with staff, student and parent training.
  4. No handouts unless strictly necessary.
  5. Use of VSware to replace journal communication with parents.
  6. Classroom-based Christmas assessments.
  7. VSware report to replace parent-teacher meetings.
  8. The school community is fully equipped for remote learning and teaching if necessary.

Mental Health and Wellbeing:

Carrignafoy Community College has made all employees aware of the Employee Assistance Programme, and facilitates the circulation of information and initiatives related to wellbeing at various levels. Student support is provided through the Wellbeing team, the Student Support Team, HSCL and SCP.

All staff are encouraged to speak to the Principal or CETB HR manager should they require additional supports during this period.

 

The above measures are not exhaustive, and are under constant review.

If staff have concerns in relation to measures implemented, or compliance with restrictions, these should be brought to the attention of the Lead Worker Representatives or brought directly to management.

Please note that all individuals have a responsibility to cooperate with the implementation of control measures put in place by Carrignafoy Community College to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

Case Management Procedures

The Principal, Deputy Principal and school secretary have been designated to deal with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 should they arise.

Suspected Cases – Staff:

Employees who experience COVID-19 symptoms are instructed to stay at home and seek medical advice. Under no circumstances are they to attend at work. The employee should follow normal absence protocols to inform the Principal or Deputy Principal of the situation, and should keep the Principal or Deputy Principal updated as to advice received from their doctor or the HSE.

If an employee becomes unwell at work with COVID-19 symptoms the following protocol will apply.

  1. The employee should immediately inform the Principal, Deputy Principal or school secretary.
  2. He/she will be taken to a designated isolation room by the designated person (or outside if no room is available), maintaining a 2m distance from all other staff at all times.
  3. The employee should continue to wear their mask.
  4. If possible, arrangements will be made for the employee to go home immediately and contact his/her doctor or the HSE for advice.
  5. If not possible, the employee will remain in the isolation room and arrangements made for him/her to contact their doctor or HSE for advice.
  6. While in isolation the employee will be advised to cover his/her mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing and put the tissue in the waste bag provided. He/she will also be advised to avoid touching people, surfaces or objects.
  7. Assistance will be provided to arrange transport home or to hospital. Public transport is not to be used in such cases.

Employees who experience COVID-19 symptoms are instructed to stay at home and seek medical advice. Under no circumstances are they to attend at work. The employee should follow normal absence protocols to inform the Principal or Deputy Principal of the situation, and should keep the Principal or Deputy Principal updated as to advice received from their doctor or the HSE.

Suspected Cases – Student

If a student becomes unwell at school with COVID-19 symptoms the following protocol will apply.

  1. If the student becomes unwell in class, he/she should be taken to the isolation room (or outside if no room is available) by the most direct route, keeping 2m distant from all other people, and the teacher should arrange for the Principal, Deputy Principal or school secretary to be notified.
  2. If the student becomes unwell at any other time, he/she should immediately go to the main office and notify the Principal, Deputy Principal or school secretary that he/she is unwell. He/she will be taken to the isolation room (or outside if no room is available), maintaining a 2m distance from all other people at all times and by the shortest
  3. The student should continue to wear their mask.
  4. The Principal, Deputy Principal or school secretary should immediately call either the parents, or if not available, the emergency contact provided to arrange for the student to go home as soon as possible. Public transport should not be used.
  5. The student will remain in the isolation room until collected. If his/her condition deteriorates and parents can be contacted, the office may call 999, explaining that this is a suspected Covid-19 case.
  6. While in isolation the student will be advised to cover his/her mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing and put the tissue in the waste bag provided. He/she will also be advised to avoid touching people, surfaces or objects.

The Principal, Deputy Principal or school secretary will then carry out an assessment of the incident and determine any follow up actions that may be required, including follow ups that may be required with contacts. He/she will arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved and also will provide assistance to the HSE if necessary.

Confirmed Cases

If a confirmed case of Covid-19 occurs within the school setting, the Principal will liaise with the HSE following the designated protocols.

Return to Work Following a Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19 Case OR Close Contact with a Confirmed Case:

Where a student or staff member has had a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, or close contact with a confirmed case where he/she was advised to self-isolate, HSE guidelines must be followed in relation to return to school/work.

Employees must provide a medical certificate advising that they are fit to return to work, where they have had a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. If it is not possible to obtain a medical certificate, they must complete and submit a self-declaration form. They must also complete the relevant form, Appendix A or B, which have been emailed to all staff, and return with their medical certificate.

 

SITE RECOVERY

Where a school, centre or office is closed or partially closed following a HSE or Cork ETB direction due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, recovery of the location will be done in consultation with the relevant Director and following specific public health and health & safety advice received from relevant government agencies and employer advisory bodies.

Returning to normal operations will require the following considerations:

  1. A full risk assessment of the situation and its impact.
  2. An detailed action plan setting out the required tasks to achieve recovery including, at minimum cleaning of all surfaces that the infected person has come in contact with, including all surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids and all potentially contaminated high-contact areas as identified in the location’s cleaning routines.
  3. Contact with Insurers regarding potential claims submissions where necessary.
  4. Appropriate communications with relevant stakeholders.
  5. Normalise operations as appropriate.
  6. Conduct a post-recovery review.