COVID -19 Section.

Covid-19 Response Plan Update

Update on Oct 23rd 2021

  • From Sept 27th dismissal time for 1st-6th classes is 3pm
  • From Nov 1st staff may return to staffroom. A maximum of 6 staff members may use the staffroom at any one time. Additional staff may use the hall. Staff must maintain social distancing at all times and masks should be replaced after eating.

Update on Dec 1st

  • Following mandate from government all pupils in 3rd-6th classes must wear a mask except those with special educational needs or medical exemption

COVID-19 Policy Statement

Cloonakilla NS is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our pupils. To ensure that, we have developed 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 pupils on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and
  • display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct handwashing techniques
  • agree with staff, a worker representative who is easily identifiable to carry out the role outlined in this plan
  • inform all staff and pupils of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical distancing requirements
  • adapt the school to facilitate physical distancing as appropriate in line with the guidance and direction of the Department of Education
  • keep a contact log to help with contact tracing 
  • ensure staff 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 pupils 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: Mary O’Rourke (Principal) Tommy Cormican (Chairperson BOM)

____________________________ ____________________________

Date: 27/9/2021

Covid-19 Response Plan for re-opening of Cloonakilla N.S. ((Updated August 26th  20201)

The following plan, which was drafted by the School Management Team, having considered input from the Board of Management, Staff and Parents Association in August 2020 has now been updated for our return to school on August 30th 2021. The plan has been formulated to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all members of our school community- children, parents and staff. 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 the school and the consequent risk of its spread.

The BOM is responsible for ensuring control measures are in place within the school to prevent the spread of Covid -19. Two staff members are nominated to act as Lead Worker Representative and Deputy Lead Worker Representative to work with the school management to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of staff and pupils in relation to Covid-19.

Lead Worker Representative: Siobhan McCabe

Deputy Lead Worker Representative: Caroline Ryan

Cloonakilla NS will reopen as follows on August 30th:

  1. Cloonakilla N.S. will reopen for all classes on Monday, 30th August at 9.20am.

Please see section dealing with “Morning Routine”. Only new Junior Infant parents will be permitted into the front yard for the 1st week. All other parents will be expected to leave their child at the top of the ramp in the carpark or at the red line in the front yard as per last year. Extra staff will be available on Monday, Aug 30th to assist with heavy schoolbags etc.

Any child returning to school after the summer holidays must complete a  ‘Return to Education Form’, filled out by their parent. This form also needs to be completed after all school holidays. When completing the form after school holidays, the box ‘Reason for absence’ may be left blank. You can fill in the form online and email it to the school email. Alternatively you can print it off, fill it in and send it into school with your child.

  1. Role of Parents

The following would greatly assist your child’s return to school:

  • Please practice good respiratory hygiene with your child before returning to school
  • Please practice good hand washing hygiene with your child
  • Ensure children are aware that they must not engage in hand-shaking, hugging or spitting
  • Ensure children avoid touching their eyes, mouth or nose unnecessarily

Teachers and staff will complete multiple lessons on correct hygiene with the children on return to school

Under no circumstances is a parent to bring a child to school if:

  •  child is exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19
  •  child has been in contact with any person who has tested positive for Covid-19 or anyone who is awaiting test results
  •  family member is awaiting test or test results

NB: Children who have been outside the country in the 10 days prior to returning to school should inform the school that they have been outside the country and consult the website for appropriate travel advice. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow this advice.

  • Morning Routine
  • The school yard will be supervised each morning from 9am-9.20am.
  • Parents are asked to “Drop and Go” at the following designated times:

9-9.10: Children with siblings

9.10-9.20: Single children

  • Please adhere to these times as closely as possible.
  • Children will go to their designated area and stand in their class line. 3rd-6th class pupils will maintain social distancing.
  • The class teacher will invite the children to enter the building via their designated entrance point as outlined in the following table:
Entrance & Exit PointsClass
Junior Infants 5th & 6th Classes  Door A (Front of school right hand side)
Senior Infants  Door C (Assembly Hall)
1st Class 2nd Class  Door F (Back of School)
3rd Class  Door E (Door beside bicycle shelter)
4th Class  Door D Front of school left side
Staff/ Visitors /Adults  Door B (Main Entrance)

On wet days children will proceed directly to their classrooms from 9am onwards where the same supervision rota will apply as for yard supervision.

Dismissal of pupils

To avoid parents and children congregating in the schoolyard at home time the following staggered dismissal of pupils must be adhered to:

2pm: Junior & Senior Infants

2.50pm: 1st Class & 2nd Class + their siblings from all other classes

3pm: 3rd Class & 4th Class + their siblings from all other classes

3.05pm: 5th & 6th class

Parents are not permitted to enter yard beyond red lines and must maintain social distancing at all times. Congregating of parents or children will not be permitted at arrival/dismissal times.

The following table illustrates where parents may meet their children:

Junior & Senior InfantsTeacher brings class to their designated entrance/exit point –  Door A & C where they wait for collectionAdults wait behind red line in front yard at appropriate social distance from others waiting adults. A mask must be worn while on school grounds
1st & 2nd ClassTeachers bring class out through their designated entrance/exit point – Door F and walk to Door E area where they await collection from their marked lineAdults wait behind red line on the path at top of the steps or behind the school wall or behind red line in front yard maintaining social distancing at all times. A mask must be worn while on school grounds
3rd & 4th ClassesTeachers will bring class out in their pods – 3rd class will exit Door E  and 4th Class Door D where they await collectionAdults wait behind red line on the path at top of the steps or behind the school wall or behind red line in front yard maintaining social A mask must be worn while on school grounds distancing at all times.
5th & 6th ClassesTeachers will bring class out in their pods through Door A where they await collectionAdults wait behind red line on the path at top of the steps or behind the school wall or behind red line in front yard maintaining social distancing at all times. A mask must be worn while on school grounds


Siblings will exit at their designated doors and wait on the basketball court at front of school for collection

Bus: Children from all classes will proceed to school bus immediately on the exit from the school but no later than 3pm.

It is important to note that the bus transport is not the responsibility of the B.O.M. Parents should ensure that the buses are operating in a compliant manner so that all the careful work done at home and school is not compromised.

To this end we suggest children should sit beside their siblings or classmates at the very least in designated seats each day.

  • Collection of children during school day

Parents should ring ahead to inform us of exact time of collection. Please ring school phone from carpark on your arrival.  Children will be called by intercom to the front door.  There will be no need to enter the building.  Please wait outside the main door and your child/children will be sent out to you.  

Children who leave for appointment during the school day MAY return to school having followed the routine hygiene procedures.      

  • Breaktimes

The DES guidelines state that the risk of transmission from contact with outside surfaces or play areas is low. To further reduce interaction between classes we will operate the following staggered break system:

Small break


Group 1 (Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 3rd Class & 5th Class)


 Group 2 (1st Class, 2nd Class, 4th Class & 6th Class)

Group 1 will stay in their lines until Group 2 exit for their break.  They will then re-enter the school class by class.


12.15-12.45: Group 1

12.45-1.15: Group 2

Pupils will play in their designated play areas. Children may play with their entire class bubble outdoors. Each play area will be divided in half so that classes will not mix with their corresponding half.

e.g. 4th Class: Ms Campbell’s class will play in one half of the designated play area while Mr Connolly’s class will play in the other half.

Yards will be supervised by class teachers, S.E.N. teachers and SNAs working with these class bubbles.

6. Class Bubbles

The DES Guidelines recognise that a common sense approach is needed in our primary schools. The children and their teachers will work in class bubbles. A class bubble is a grouping which stays apart from other classes as much as possible. A class bubble will mix only with their own class from arrival at school in the morning until the children go home each evening. A distinction has been made however, between Junior & Senior Classes.

Junior Infants – 2nd Class

Junior Infants – 2nd Class will operate as a class bubble and are not required to maintain physical distancing indoors. Children will be divided into small groups (pods) as always but these groups will change at intervals and the children will be permitted to mix with other groups within the classroom.

3rd – 6th class

Children from 3rd-6th will be arranged in pods (small groups) within their class bubble with a maximum of 6 per pod. Each pod will be at least 1 metre apart from all other pods in the classroom. The direction is that children remain in these pods where possible. I recognise that at times this may be a challenge and sometimes exceptions may have to be made.

  • SEN Teaching

In keeping with our Special Educational Needs policy support for pupils will be provided by the usual combination of in-class support and withdrawal. From September to Halloween support will be provided by withdrawal only.

Special Needs Assistants will work, as far as is possible, within the confines of a bubble.  Rotation between classes will be kept to a minimum for Special Education Teachers and sanitizing routines will be observed.

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.

The tables and chairs in SET rooms will be wiped down in between different pupils or small groups attending.

Junior Infants  Mrs KennellyEAL & SEN Support
Senior Infants  Mrs Kennelly        EAL & SEN Support    
First ClassMrs McCabe Mrs McCullagh   Mrs Kennelly & Shared SETSEN Support, Reading Recovery & Literacy Lift Off   Literacy Lift Off
Second ClassShared SET Mrs. McCabe, Ms McCullagh & Ms KielyLiteracy, Numeracy  and SEN Support
Third and Fourth ClassMs KellyLiteracy, Numeracy  and SEN Support
Fifth and SixthMs KielyLiteracy, Numeracy  and SEN Support
  • Supporting children who cannot come to school
  1. In the event of full lockdown (national or local)

Teachers will communicate with children via Seesaw.  For those who cannot access Seesaw work will be emailed to pupils.

  • In the event of a teacher being sent home with class

Teacher will communicate with class via Seesaw as above (presuming the teacher has a negative result and is also able to do so).  If a teacher has a positive result a substitute will be employed

  • In the event of teacher and pod being sent home

A substitute teacher will be employed to teach the class in school.  A member of SEN team will continue distance learning with the pod who are at home if the teacher is unable to do so.

  • For pupils who are unable to attend school (those who are self-isolating, restricting movements or are in high risk category) work will be sent home by the class teacher on Seesaw and a member of SEN team will monitor work.  If a teacher is restricting movement he/she will monitor work if possible.
  • If a parent opts to homeschool their child this must be done through TUSLA  & Dept of Education. The school has no duty in this situation.
  • If a child is not able to attend school for an extended period of time due to illness or an underlying health condition, the class teacher (and/or the SEN Teacher, where relevant) will provide work to support the child’s learning at home and this will be shared with parents/guardians.
  • Illness/Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19 in pupils

If a pupil displays symptoms of Covid-19 while in school the following procedures will be implemented:

  • Parents/guardians will be contacted immediately
  • The child will be accompanied by a staff member to the isolation area at end of hallway near staffroom. This area will be cordoned off with screen. The staff member will remain at least 2m away from the symptomatic child at all times.
  • The child will be advised to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when coughing or sneezing and this will be disposed of in the bin provided.
  • If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required the secretary will contact 999 or112 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 and staff and pupil confidentiality is essential at all times.

N.B: For children who are unwell but do not display Covid-19 symptoms the usual procedures will apply:

Parents will be contacted and children will remain in classroom until called to front office via intercom where they will be collected.

  • Illness/Dealing with a suspected case of Covid-19 in staff
  • Staff members who are symptomatic should immediately inform the Principal/Deputy Principal and go to the isolation area.
  • If a staff member is well enough to go home they may do so. Alternatively, arrangements will be made for them to be collected by a family member as soon as possible.
  • If the staff member is too unwell to go home or advice is required, the secretary will contact 99 or112 and inform them that the sick person is a Covid-19 suspect.
  • The isolation area and work areas will be cleaned thoroughly in line with the guidelines.
  • Implications for Staff
  • Staff Absence

In the event that a teacher is absent every effort will be made to secure a substitute teacher for the class. If a substitute is not available a member of the SEN Team or Principal will fill in. The children will not be divided among other classes.

  • Induction Training
  • All 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 has 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 with any changes to the control measures or guidance available from the public health authorities.

  • School staff is encouraged to download the HSE Covid-19 tracker app to assist Public Health for contact tracing purposes both in and out of the school setting.
  • Staff is required to submit Return to Work forms before school commences in September.  They must also confirm that the details in the Return to Work form remain unchanged following periods of school closure such as school holidays.

Congregation of staff

  • To avoid staff congregation in staffroom all teachers except those on yard duty will stay in their classrooms for break/lunchtimes for the immediate future. Staff may use staffroom /assembly hall on wet days if children remain in classrooms for breaktimes. No more than 4 members will congregate in the staffroom at breaktimes at 2 metres apart.  SNAs will use assembly hall in 2 groups ensuring that they remain 2 metres apart.

10. Hygiene and cleaning

30 sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the school. Additional classroom soap and towel dispensers have also been installed at classroom sinks. Warm water and soap is available in all toilet areas and staffroom.

Hand hygiene will be promoted and encouraged, and parents will be asked to support the school in reinforcing this message.

The school will be cleaned thoroughly every evening. Staff will also ensure that frequently touched surfaces e.g. door handles, handrails etc. will be cleaned during the school day.

SNAs will sanitise desks and chairs each evening for Junior Infants -2nd class. 3rd -6th classes will be required to sanitise their own work areas each evening before leaving school. Teachers are responsible for sanitising their own work stations each evening.

Waste will be collected daily from all classrooms/ toilets etc.

A cleaning schedule should be displayed and completed daily for equipment in sensory room and for equipment used for SEN pupils.

11. Practical Considerations for parents

School Uniforms

We recognise that it is difficult for uniforms or tracksuits to be washed daily. We will follow our usual practice in relation to uniforms and tracksuits. Uniforms should be worn every day except on PE days. Teachers will ensure that PE days are spaced apart in the week so parents have a chance to alternate the two sets of clothes. We advise that school uniforms and tracksuits should be taken off straight after the child arrives home from school for the day.

Personal belongings

In so far as possible it is requested that children from 1st-6th class will bring their own pens, colours etc. in their own pencil case to avoid the sharing of equipment. All items should be labelled for ease of identification. Class teachers will be contact with you over the next few days in this regard.

We require all children (1st -6th classes only) to bring their own hand sanitiser to school which they will use at their table if required during the day. This must be clearly labelled. Infant classes will use sanitisers in classroom. This is in accordance with DES guidelines. If for medical reasons parents do not wish their child to use sanitiser they may use warm water and soap instead.

What to do if a child is sick

In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 it is important to know and recognise the symptoms. They are:

  • High temperature
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • Loss of smell/taste

It is likely that many children will exhibit symptoms of colds, coughs etc. on returning to school. Parents will have many queries about this and sometimes we don’t have the answers. If you are worried the best advice is to contact your doctor and consult the HSE website for up to date information. If you or your child have any common symptoms of Covid 19 you should self isolate and contact your doctor immediately to arrange a test.

Parent Appointments/Visitors

  • Should a matter of urgency arise for parents they must phone the school office and make an appointment for access. Please do not turn up expecting to gain access without an appointment. Parents should remain in their car until they receive a phone call from the school secretary.
  • Should a parent wish to speak with the Principal/teacher they should call the school office and a suitable time will be arranged for a phone consultation. We will review this in October in the hope that face-to-face meetings can be accommodated if necessary.
  • Visitors must call the office in advance of arranging a meeting with the Principal. All meetings with external agencies will take place via phone or Zoom calls.

Congregation of Parents

  • Parents are asked not to congregate at school gates or on school grounds in order to minimise risk of transmission of the virus. All adults must wear a mask on school property. Those who refuse to do so or are unable to do so must inform the Principal and/or make alternative arrangements to pick up their child.

12. Use of Masks/PPE


The Dept. of Education recommend staff wear masks if they are unable to maintain 2m distance from pupils or other staff members.

 Teachers and SNAs are recommended to wear medical grade masks and other appropriate PPE e.g. gloves, aprons etc. as required. All other staff is advised to wear medical grade masks as provided.

All staff members are asked to wear masks on school grounds when exiting and entering their vehicles. They are also required to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser on entering and exiting the school building.

If a teacher/SNA accompanies a child with symptoms of Covid-19 to the isolation area they should wear appropriate PPE, including a visor if required, and maintain a distance of 2m from the child. This can be disposed of when the child has gone home. The adult must wash and sanitise their hands before resuming their work in the classroom.


Children are not required to wear masks or face coverings. However, if a parent is anxious that their child wears a face covering, this will be permitted.


The BOM request that all adults on school grounds wear masks irregardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors. This request is made to parents in the interests of health & safety as there are times, particularly at dismissal time, when parents congregate. All adults on school property who are not wearing a mask will be asked to do so. This is not intended to be offensive but is part of our defensive armoury against Covid-19. Please convey this message to all other adults who may be picking up your child from school.

14. Classroom/Curricular Considerations

  • GAA Coaching

GAA coaching will continue outdoors only and the coach will not be permitted to enter the school building.

  • Changing pods

Pods will be changed to some extent after each extended break. However, while teachers are restricted according to reading groups there will be some level of flexibility.

  • Choir/Musical Performance

Choir practices and music practices involving wind instruments pose a higher level of risk and will not be held for the immediate future. This will be reviewed at Halloween.

15. Ventilation

The Department of Education has set out the following guidance setting out the practical steps for good ventilation in schools:

Windows should be open as fully as possible during breaktimes, lunchtimes and at the end of each school day. They should be partially open when classrooms are in use”. Carbon Dioxide monitors will be in operation in classrooms following delivery from Dept of Education. These will be used to identify if classrooms are adequately ventilated.

Please be assured that we will do our best to ensure your child remains in school in a safe manner. For all our parents, especially our new Junior Infant parents, we realise that the “new normal” means becoming accustomed to many new routines and we will require your patience and cooperation in implementing these new procedures.

This is a live document and will change in accordance with Public Health advice. This document will be reviewed at the Halloween break.

Mary O’Rourke (Principal)

Click on the link below to view our Covid-19 Response Plan and Policy Statement ;

Please click on the link below to read an Open letter from Acting Chief Medical Officer to parents, guardians of school children and to teachers and affiliated school staff.