Plan for re-opening of Cloonakilla N.S.

The following plan has been drafted by the School Management Team having considered input from the Board of Management, Staff and Parents Association. 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.

Cloonakilla NS will reopen as follows on Aug 27th:

  1. Cloonakilla N.S. will reopen for 3rd/4th/5th & 6th classes only on Thursday, 27th August.
  2. School will open for Senior Infants/1st and 2nd Classes only on Friday, 28th August
  3. New Junior Infants will be invited to visit the school in small groups on either Thursday, 27th or Friday 28th August for 15 minute periods.  Parents have been contacted with exact times.
  4. School will reopen for all pupils on Monday, August 31st.  You will be furnished with further details in regard to return to school next week so please check your emails regularly.
  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 outside the country (with the exception of Green List Countries) in the 14 days prior to returning to school
  •  child has been in contact with any person who has tested positive for Covid-19 or anyone who is awaiting test results
  • 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
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
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 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


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.

This system will apply rain, hail or shine so please make sure that your child comes to school prepared for the weather!

  • Collection of children during school day

Parents 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. 3rd Class: Ms Finnegan’s class will play in one half of the designated play area while Ms Dowling’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 except for Ms Gately’s 4th class which will have 8 per pod due to class size. 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.

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   Mrs McCabe    EAL & SEN Support   Reading Recovery  & SEN Support
First ClassMrs McCabe Mrs McCullagh   Mrs Kennelly & Shared SETSEN & Numeracy Support, Reading Recovery & Literacy Lift Off   Literacy Lift Off
Second ClassShared SETLiteracy, Numeracy  and SEN Support
Third and Fourth ClassMs KellyLiteracy, Numeracy  and SEN Support
Fifth and SixthMs CronollyLiteracy, Numeracy  and SEN Support
  • Supporting children who cannot come to school

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.

If a parent chooses to send a child to school because they are concerned about Covid-19 we will send home class work for a short period but we will not be responsible for communicating with child or parent.

If a parent opts to homeschool their child this must be done through TUSLA  & DES. The school has no duty in this situation.

  • 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.

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 as per usual.

The Use of PPE

Staff members are not required to wear PPE. However, PPE may need to be used occasionally. Appropriate PPE will be available for dealing with suspected Covid-19 cases, intimate care needs and for first aid. Where staff provide healthcare to children with medical needs in the school environment, they will apply standard precautions as per usual.

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 DES guidelines recommend that teachers wear masks when they cannot maintain 2m distance from pupils. SNAS and SEN teachers who move from one school area to another are advised to change masks after each move. Masks and visors will be available to staff who wish to wear them.

There is no need for children to wear disposable gloves as they are considered inappropriate under the guidelines. The emphasis instead will be on hand hygiene. Staff members do not need to wear disposable gloves unless they are looking after a pupil’s intimate care needs or administering First Aid.

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.

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 sanitizer 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

Since our return to school many children are exhibiting symptoms of colds, coughs etc. This is to be expected but naturally has caused a lot of concern this year. Parents 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. Below please find link to Isolation Quick Guide from HSE which may answer some of your questions.

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 who have been notified by the school that their child is sick or parents wishing to take their child from school before the scheduled finish time must phone the school from the carpark on their arrival, parents must come in to reception to sign the child, out your child will be called to reception area by intercom, parents must wait for the child/children in the school yard outside the red line.
  • 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.

Please be assured that we will do our best to ensure your child remains in school in a safe manner. We realise that the “new normal” means a change of 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.

Mary O’Rourke (Principal)