COVID-19 Response Plan (Ratified on 21/09/2021)
Table of Contents:
- School COVID-19 Policy
- Planning and Preparing for Return to School
– Induction Training
– Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)
– Lead Worker Representative (LWR)
-The role of the LWR
-Update Safety and Risk Assessment
– Access to the School and Contact Log
- Control Measures – To prevent Introduction and Spread of COVID-19 in Schools
-Know the Symptoms of COVID-19
- Impact of COVID-19 on certain school activities
- Hygiene and Cleaning in School
- Dealing with a suspected case
- Staff Duties
- Absence Management
- Employee Assistance Service
- Risk Assessment
- Contact Tracing Log
Appendix 1 Return to Work Form
Appendix 2 Risk Assessment
Appendix 3 School Contact Tracing Log
COVID-19 Policy Statement
Trinity Comprehensive School is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our students. To ensure that, we have developed and updated the following COVID-19 Response Plan. The BOM and all school staff are responsible for the implementation of this plan and a combined effort will help contain the spread of the virus. We will:
- Continue to monitor our COVID-19 response and amend this plan in consultation with our staff
- Provide up to date information to our staff and students on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and Gov.ie
- Display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct hand-washing techniques
- Agree with staff, a worker representative who is easily identifiable to carry out the role outlined in this plan
- Inform all staff and students of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical distancing requirements
- Adapt the school to facilitate physical distancing as appropriate in line with the public health guidance and direction of the Department of Education
- Keep a contact log to help with contact tracing
- Ensure staff and students engage with the induction / familiarisation briefing provided by the Department of Education
- Implement the agreed procedures to be followed in the event of someone showing symptoms of COVID-19 while at school
- Provide instructions for staff and students to follow if they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during school time
- Implement cleaning in line with Department of Education advice
All school staff will be consulted on an ongoing basis and feedback is encouraged on any concerns, issues or suggestions.
This can be done through the Lead Worker Representative(s), who will be supported in line with the agreement between the Department and education partners.
Signed: ____________________ Date:_____________________
Planning and Preparing for return to Trinity Comprehensive School
- The Lead Worker Representative (role outlined below) will be responsible for keeping up to date with the latest COVID-19 public health advice and pass on this information in a timely manner to staff, students, parents and others as required;
- Management will provide staff with access to the Return to Work (RTW) form prior to them attending work
- Two Lead worker representatives have been appointed to work in collaboration with the employer to assist in the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of COVID -19 and monitor adherence to those measures and to be involved in communicating the health advice around COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Posters and other signage have been displayed to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19
- Changes have been made to the school layout to support the redesign of classrooms to support physical distancing. Each year group will have their own designated area and classroom.
- Unnecessary clutter has been removed to facilitate ongoing cleaning of the school.
- The health and safety risk assessment has been updated to reflect the procedures due to COVID.
- Students have separate entrances and exits that are supervised (by year group) and a log has been set up at the entrance of the school in order to restrict access to the school and maintain records of contacts to the school
- The following checks have been carried out by the school caretaker:
- The water system has been flushed out to prevent Legionella disease;
- School equipment and mechanical ventilation has been checked for signs of deterioration or damage before being used again;
- Bin collections and other essential services have resumed.
- The Principal will ensure that all staff have reviewed the training materials provided by the Department of Education
All new staff will undertake and complete COVID-19 Induction Training prior to returning to the school building. The aim of such training is to ensure that staff have full knowledge and understanding of the following:
- Latest up to-date 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
- Outline of 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 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 COVID-19 Response Plan, the associated control measures, or his/her duties, he/she should immediately seek guidance from the Principal who is supported in this role by the BOM.
Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)
In order to return to the workplace, staff must complete a Return to Work (RTW) form, which is available online or from the principal. A copy is attached also at Appendix 2.
A RTW form should be completed and returned to the school before returning to work. Schools should request staff to confirm that the details in the Return to Work Form remain unchanged following subsequent periods of closure such as school holidays.
The principal will also provide details of the Induction Training for completion by staff and details of any additional health and safety measures in place in the school to facilitate the staff member’s return to the school facility.
Details of the working arrangements that apply to the very high risk school staff, is in accordance with those applying for the public service generally, and is detailed in the relevant Department of Education circulars available on the Department’s website.
Lead Worker Representative
The LWR will work in collaboration with the employer to assist in the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of COVID -19 and monitor adherence to those measures and to be involved in communicating the health advice around COVID-19 in the workplace.
If a staff member has any concerns or observations in relation to the COVID-19 Response Plan, control measures or the adherence to such measures by staff, students or others he/she should contact the lead worker(s) who will engage with the principal/BOM.
Role of the Lead Worker Representative
In summary, the role of the LWR is to:
- Represent all staff in the workplace regardless of role, and be aware of specific issues that may arise in respect of different staff cohorts;
- Work collaboratively with school management to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of employees in relation to COVID-19;
- Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 public health advice;
- In conjunction with school management, promote good hygiene practices such as washing hands regularly and maintaining good respiratory etiquette along with maintaining social distancing in accordance with public health advice;
- Assist school management with implementing infection prevention control measures to suppress COVID-19 in the workplace in line with the Work Safely Protocol and current public health advice;
- In conjunction with school management, monitor adherence to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
- Conduct regular reviews of safety measures;
- Report any issues of concern immediately to school management and keep records of such issues and actions taken to rectify them;
- Consult with the school management on the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan in the event of someone developing COVID-19 while in school including the location of an isolation area and a safe route to that area;
- Following any incident, assess with the school management any follow up action that is required;
- Consult with colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace;
- Make representations to school management on behalf of their colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace.
|Name(s) of lead worker representative:||Contact details:|
|Ms. E. Quinn and Ms. J. Henry||01-8428356|
All staff, students, parents, contractors and visitors have a responsibility both as individuals and collectively to have due regard for their own health and safety and that of others and to assist with the implementation of the COVID-19 Response Plan and associated infection prevention control measures.
Full details of the arrangements which apply for the LWR in post primary schools is set out at Appendix 3.
Health and Safety Risk Assessment
COVID-19 represents a hazard in the context of health and safety in the school environment. A template risk assessment to identify the control measures required to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in school settings is attached at Appendix 2.
Access to School and Contact Log
Access to the school building will be in line with agreed school procedures.
Arrangement for necessary visitors such as contractors and parents will be restricted to essential purposes and limited to those who have obtained prior approval from the principal.
The prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a crucial step in restricting the spread of the virus and protecting the health and safety of the individuals themselves and other staff, contractors and visitors at the workplace. A detailed sign in/sign out log of those entering the school facilities will be maintained and can be found at the reception desk. This data is in compliance with the GDPR and the Data Protection Acts.
- Infection Prevention Control Measures – To prevent Introduction and Spread of COVID-19 in Schools
It is critical that staff, students, parents and visitors are aware of, and adhere to, the control measures outlined and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements.
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a workplace or any setting is to practice physical distancing, adopt proper hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette and increase ventilation.
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.
To minimise the Risk of Introduction of COVID-19 in Trinity Comprehensive School
We will promote awareness of COVID-19 symptoms by signage and educating our students, staff and parents.
- Staff and students will be notified by our School APP, website and Facebook page that if they have symptoms not to attend school, to phone their doctor and to follow HSE guidance on self-isolation;
- Staff and students will be advised not to attend school if they have been identified by the HSE as contact for a person with COVID-19 and to follow the HSE advice on restriction of movement;
- Staff and students that develop symptoms at school will be advised to bring this to the attention of the principal (or deputy principal if the principal is unavailable) promptly;
- Induction will be carried out by the teachers and students will take part in an induction on their first day to ensure that staff and students know the protocol for managing a suspected case of COVID-19 in school.
- Each year group will have a designated entrance and exit door.
- Sanitiser pumps have been placed on every corridor, in every classroom and reception area so that everyone entering the school building performs good hand hygiene with a hand sanitiser;
Students/ staff will be encouraged to perform hand hygiene:
On arrival at school;
Before eating or drinking;
After using the toilet;
After petting animals;
After playing outdoors;
When their hands are physically dirty;
When they cough or sneeze.
- Visitors to the school during the day should be by prior arrangement with the principal and should be received at a specific contract point; This will be communicated to the school community by posting on our various communication platforms.
- Systems have been put in place to ensure that Physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained between staff and visitors where possible.
- Classrooms will be covid cleaned 3 times a day.
- Students will stay in their base class for the majority of the day except for option classes. Option classes will be divided into class pods
- Students will eat their lunch in a designated area in their class group.
- Face masks and Visors will be worn by students, teachers and all of the school community.
- If students/staff have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instance staff and students are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel.
- Staff and students know the protocol for managing a suspected case of COVID-19 in school
- Staff and students to cooperate with any public health officials and the school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice in the event of a case or outbreak in the school;
The wearing of a face mask is a requirement for all teachers, staff and students attending Trinity Comprehensive School when a physical distance of 2m from other staff or students cannot be maintained.
In certain situations, the use of clear visors should be considered, for example staff interacting with students with hearing difficulties or learning difficulties.
Face masks should not be worn by any of the following groups:
- Any person with difficulty breathing
- Any person who is unconscious or incapacitated
- Any person who is unable to remove the face-covering without assistance
- Any person who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face mask, for example persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.
All staff and students wearing face masks should are reminded to not touch the face covering and to wash or sanitise their hands (using hand sanitiser) before putting on and after taking off the face mask.
Wearing a face mask does not negate the need to stay at home if symptomatic.
Know the Symptoms of COVID-19
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to know and recognise the symptoms of coronavirus (which includes the DELTA variant).
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above).
- a new cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry.
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
- loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
- Aches and Pains
Other uncommon symptoms of coronavirus include:
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy noses
- feeling sick or vomiting
Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can cause illness, ranging from mild to severe, and, in some cases, can be fatal. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. They can be similar to symptoms of cold and flu.
Getting an early diagnosis means, you can get the help you need and take steps to avoid spreading the virus, if you have it.
For the complete list of symptoms, please refer to the HSE Website. Symptoms may be subject to change so regular review of the HSE Website is advised. If you do not have symptoms, you can get a free COVID-19 (coronavirus) test at a COVID-19 walk-in test centre.
Employers and workers must keep themselves up to date on Public Health information as this can be updated on a regular basis. Public Health information on close contacts, casual contacts and testing is available from the HSE website.
Where possible staff should maintain a minimum of 1 m distance and where
possible 2m. They should also take measures to avoid close contact at face to face
level such as remaining standing rather than sitting beside/crouching down.
4.Impact of COVID-19 on certain school activities
Art – Where possible students will be encouraged to have their own individual art and equipment supplies.
Electronics – Shared electronic devices such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards will be cleaned between use
Library Policy – Students will have their own books. Textbooks that are shared will be covered in a wipeable plastic covering that can be wiped with a suitable household cleaning agent between uses. Students will be encouraged to perform hand hygiene after using any shared item.
If a student or staff diagnosed with COVID-19 spent time in a communal area like a canteen, play area or if they used the toilet or bathroom facilities, then the areas will be cleaned with household detergent followed by a disinfectant (as outlined in the HPSC interim health advice) as soon as is practically possible.
5.Hygiene and Cleaning in Schools
- The School will be cleaned at least once per day.
- Frequently touched surfaces – door handles, hand rails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities will be cleaned regularly during the day.
- Staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect their work area before and after use each day.
- There will be regular collection of used waste disposal bags from offices and other areas within the school facility.
- Staff will be provided with and use and clean their own equipment and utensils (cup, cutlery, plate et
- If students are moving between classrooms consideration may be given to appropriate cleaning products being provided to enable them to wipe down their desk, chair and surface before leaving the room.
Cleaning/Disinfecting rooms where a student/staff member with suspected COVID-19 was present
- Rooms will be cleaned as soon as practicable possible.
- Once the room is vacated the room will not be reused until it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry.
- Once the room has been cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry, the room can be reused.
6.Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19
A designated isolation area has been identified within the school building. A contingency plan for dealing with additional cases put in place. The designated isolation area is behind a closed door and away from other staff and students. If a staff member/student displays symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, the following are the procedures to be implemented:
- If the person with the suspected case is a student, the parents/guardians will be contacted immediately;
- The person will be isolated and a procedure is in place to accompany the individual to the designated isolation area via the isolation route.
- A mask will be provided for the person presenting with symptoms if one is available. He/she will wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises;
- The individual who is displaying symptoms will be assessed and will immediately be directed to go home/be brought home by parents and call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home;
- If the person is well enough to go home, arrangements will be made for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible and advise them to inform their general practitioner by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind will not be used;
- If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, we will contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick person is a COVID-19 suspect;
- An assessment will be carried out of the incident which will form part of determining follow-up actions and recovery;
- Appropriate cleaning will be arranged 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 and staff and student confidentiality is essential at all times. School staff should be encouraged to download the HSE COVID-19 tracker app to assist Public Health for contract tracing purposes. Both in and out of the school setting (see section 5.1).
Staff have a statutory obligation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of their colleagues and other parties.
The cooperation and assistance of all staff is essential to reduce the risk of spread of COVID19 and to protect health and safety as far as possible within the school. All staff have a key role to play.
In this regard and in order to facilitate a safe return to work, these duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Adhere to the School COVID-19 Response Plan and the control measures outlined.
- Complete the RTW form before they return to work.
- Must inform the Principal if there are any other circumstances relating to COVID-19, not included in the form, which may need to be disclosed to facilitate their safe return to the workplace.
- New staff must complete COVID-19 Induction Training and any other training required prior to their return to school.
- Must be aware of, and adhere to, good hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Coordinate practices and work with their colleagues to ensure that physical distancing is maintained.
- Make themselves aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and monitor their own wellbeing.
- Self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they display any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Not return to or attend school if they have symptoms of COVID-19 under any circumstances.
- Follow the HSE guidance if they are identified as a close contact.
- If they have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instances staff are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel.
- If they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 whilst within the school facility, they should adhere to the procedure outlined above.
- Keep informed of the updated advice of the public health authorities and comply with same.
- Cooperate with any public health personnel and their school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice given in the event of a case or outbreak in their school
- Undergo any COVID-19 testing that may be required as part of mass or serial testing as advised by Public Health
8.COVID-19 related absence management
The management of a COVID-19 related absence will be managed in line with agreed procedures with the Department of Education.
- Employee Assistance Service
The Department recognises the need for school staff wellbeing and collective self-care. Support for school staff wellbeing will be provided by Department Support Services including the PDST and CSL, as well as by the HSE’s Health Promotion Team. An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for individual staff members in schools. The aim of the Occupational Health Strategy is to promote the health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace, with a strong focus on prevention. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises the Employee Assistance Service and the Occupational Health Service. The Employee Assistance Service (EAS) is provided by Spectrum.Life under the logo of ‘Wellbeing Together: Folláinne Le Chéile’.
The EAS is a self-referral service where employees have access to a dedicated free-phone confidential helpline 1800 411 057 available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing advice on a range of issues such as wellbeing, legal, financial, mediation, management support etc. The service is also available via SMS, WhatsApp, e-mail, live chat and call back request. All points of contact for the service are qualified, accredited and experienced mental health professionals.
Where required, short-term counselling is available to employees and their families (over the age of 18 years and living at home).
The EAS also provides advice and support to managers and delivers interventions to help them deal with health and wellbeing issues in the workplace.
A bespoke wellbeing portal and app is available which offers access to podcasts, blogs, live chats and videos on topics around wellbeing and mental health, family life, exercise and nutrition. E-Learning programmes across mental health, sleep and a range of wellbeing topics are also available. In addition online cognitive behavioural therapy is provided. As part of the services provided by Spectrum.Life, a Mental Health Promotion Manager is available to develop and deliver evidence based mental health and wellbeing initiatives to reduce stigma and improve mental health literacy and to increase engagement with the service. Spectrum.Life also provides a series of webinars and presentations to promote wellbeing in schools.