St. Rynaghs National School


Main St., Banagher, Co. Offaly   -   Phone: 057 91 51419

Covid-19 Policy


St. Rynagh’s N.S. Covid-19 Policy

This plan was devised by the Principal in cooperation with the Lead Worker Representative and the school post holders as Deputy Lead Worker Representatives.

The plan is based on the D.E.S. covid-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of Primary Schools and Special Schools.

Reopening the School Building

  • The principal and caretaker will ensure the building is in working order and bins are being collected.
  • The water system and heating system are working and flushed.
  • Cleaning of the school building will have resumed 3 weeks before opening.
  • All staff are expected to keep up to date with public health advice and Department of Education advice.
  • All staff are expected to complete the return to work form.
  • This policy will be available on the school website to be viewed by staff, parents, pupils and others as required.
  • Access to the school will be limited and will be described further in this policy.
  • Classroom layouts will be redesigned to support physical distancing.
  • A Lead Worker Representative will be appointed.
  • Unnecessary clutter will be removed to facilitate cleaning.
  • New cleaning routines will be established.
  • Signage and posters will be displayed to prevent introduction and spread of Covid-19.
  • Updated health and safety risk assessment to include Covid-19 is included.

Induction Training

Induction training to cover:-

  • Latest up to date knowledge, advice and guidance.
  • Covid-19 symptoms.
  • What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms of Covid-19 at school.
  • Outline of Covid-19 plan will be provided by the Department. School staff will avail themselves of the training on or before the 31st.  On  the 31st August the school staff will have a Croke Park day dedicated to Covid-19.

Return to Work Form

All staff must complete the return to work form by Friday 28th August.  The form is available at Appendix 2 of the D.E.S. Covid-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable reopening of Primary and Special Schools.  (Covid-19 R.P. Primary).

Lead Worker Representative

Our L.W.R. is Catherine Doyle Flynn.  Our Deputy L.W.R.’s are Carmel O’Sullivan and Tomás Flaherty.


St. Rynagh’s N.S. will use the signage provided by the D.E.S. outlining the signs of Covid-19, supporting good hand and respiratory hygiene and social distancing.

School Layout

St. Rynagh’s N.S. will make changes to classroom layouts in line with the guidance in Covid-19 P.R. Primary Section 5.4.

Health and Safety Risk Assessment

Our standard Health and Safety Policy is still in place in addition we will fill out appendix 4 of Covid-19 P.R. Primary which is a particular Covid-19 Risk Assessment.  This additional risk assessment will be completed within 3 days of reopening.

First Aid

Face coverings will be worn and good hand hygiene protocols observed when administering First Aid.

Access to School and Contact Log

Arrangement for necessary visitors such as contractors, parents and D.E.S. officials will be restricted to essential purposes and limited to those who have obtained prior approval from the Principal.   The detailed log available in appendix 5 of Covid-19 P.P. Primary will be used to record all visits.

Control Measures

Know the Symptoms of Covid-19.

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

Respiratory Hygiene

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.  Dispose of a used tissue immediately into a bin.

Hand Hygiene

First follow the H.S.E. guidelines on hand washing

Posters will be displayed in the school from the D.E.S. about how to wash your hands properly.  Hand hygiene can be achieved by hand washing or use of a hand sanitiser (when hands look clean).

Frequency of Hand Hygiene

  • On arrival at school.
  • Before eating or drinking.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After playing outdoors.
  • When hands are physically dirty.
  • When we cough or sneeze.

The school principal and caretaker will ensure that facilities are in place for hand hygiene.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing will be applied practically, sustainably and allowing for some flexibility where needed.

Each class will be a class bubble and this bubble will be kept apart from other class bubbles as much as possible.

The 2 guiding principles of physical distancing are:-

Increasing separation and decreasing interaction.

Increasing Separation

Classrooms will be reconfigured to maximise physical distancing.  The Dept. has provided an illustrative suite of primary classroom layouts which we will utilise.

Any unnecessary furniture will be removed from classrooms.

The teacher’s desk would be at least 1 m and when possible 2 m away from pupil’s desks.  Teachers and S.N.A.s should if possible take measures to avoid close contact at face to face level such as remaining standing or walking in classroom rather than crouching down to children.

Decreasing Interaction

Decreasing interaction between pupils in Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 1st and 2nd Class indoors or outdoors is not required by guidelines.

In older classes work stations or desks will be changed at mid-term and end of term only.

Class bubbles will be maintained on the yard and indoors.

Within the class bubble teachers may establish pods for teaching purposes such as providing Learning Support.  We will endeavour to change these pods only at mid-term and end of term.

School corridors will be kept clean and clear of obstacles.

Shared resources such as laptops or P.E. equipment should be cleaned when one class bubbles is finished using it.

Each class bubble will eat in their own classroom.

Staff and pupils should avoid sharing personal items.

Children’s schoolwork will not be taken home for correction.

Further information on Decreasing Interaction and Increasing Separation in the classroom is available in section 5.4 of Covid-19 P.R. Primary.

Physical Distancing Outside of the classroom and within the School.

School Drop off/Collection.

The school day starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 2.40 p.m. and 1.40 p.m. for infants.

Please note the following changes to help avoid congregations.

Drop Off

No parents are allowed in to the school.  School doors will be open for children to walk straight into their classroom.

8.50 a.m. the school gate will be open and pupils from 6th, 5th, 4th and their siblings should if possible arrive between 8.50 and 8.55 a.m.

8.55 – 9 a.m. pupils from 3rd, 2nd and 1st and their siblings should arrive if possible.      

9 a.m. Senior Infants should arrive if they have not arrived with a sibling.

9.05 a.m. Junior Infants should arrive if they have not arrived with a sibling.           

Parents are asked not to park near the school.  Walking or cycling to school should be encouraged as much as possible.  We are asking parents to park on Cuba Avenue or above the school at or near the Church car park in order to allow your children walk down to school to avoid congregations of pupils.  We would particularly ask that parents do not park across the road from the school as this can disturb the flow of pupils.


We will stagger the pupils leaving the school. 

At 2.40 p.m. 6th class, 5th class, 4th class and their siblings will leave the school at 2.45 p.m. 3rd class, 2nd class and 1st class will leave the school.

For the first 2 weeks Junior Infants will leave at 12 noon.

Senior Infants will leave at 1.40 p.m.

From the third week Senior Infants will leave at 1.40 p.m. and Junior Infants will leave at 1.45 p.m.


Each class bubble will be given their own area to play in.

When the bell rings to begin yard Junior Infants will go out their own door.

Senior Infants will leave at the bell.

1st class will go out their own door.

5th class will go out at the bell.

6th class will follow 5th, 4th class will follow 6th.

2nd class will follow S.I.

3rd class will follow 2nd class.

5th and 6th class will follow 3rd class.

The teacher supervising the class will ensure the preceding class has left the corridor before their class exits.

Each class bubble will have their own designated area in the yard to play in.

Once outside on the yard 6th class and 5th class will have 4 distinct areas to play in so regardless of the classroom they come from there will be a 5th class football match and another 5th class play area, a 6th class football match and another 6th class play area.   As the pupils of 5th and 6th class are outside they can play in the group they choose and after break line up once more in their class bubble.

Junior Infants have their own door to the yard.

Pupils from rooms 3, 4, 5 and 7 use the middle door.

Pupils from rooms 8, 10 and 11 use the end door.

Pupils from room 9 use their own door.

At the End of Yard

Junior Infants can line up.

5th & 6th can line up.

3rd can go straight in.

2nd can line up.

6th can go straight in.

1st can go in through their own door.

5th can line up.

4th can line up.

Senior Infants will line up and wait to be collected.

Classes that are lined up should keep to their own classes when going to their lines.

Use of P.P.E. in the School

Children attending primary schools are not recommended to wear face coverings.

It is recommended that teachers and staff in St. Rynagh’s N.S. wear a face covering when a physical distance of 2 m cannot be maintained.

In certain situations the use of clear visors should be considered.

Staff may decide to use their own face covering.

St. Rynagh’s N.S. will have a stock of reusable washable masks and face shields.  If staff avail of the school supplies it is their responsibility to clean and sanitise the face covering.

The school will also have a stock of disposable face masks as back up face coverings.

Routine use of disposable gloves is not a suitable substitute for good hand hygiene, however, gloves will be available for particular occurrences.

Aprons will also be available for particular occurrences.

Impact of Covid-19 on School Activities

Choirs and singing will be kept to the class bubbles.

Sports equipment that is shared between classes should be cleaned and or sanitised after use by the class teacher.

Sports will be conducted outside if possible.  If the hall is in use it should be well ventilated.


All toys should be cleaned weekly.  Toys should be chosen that are easy to clean and disinfect.  Cloth and soft toys should be used sparingly and need to be machine washable. 

Modelling and play dough where used should be for individual use.  It may be simpler to assign play dough activities as homework.

Details on the cleaning procedure for toys are on page 24 section 6 of Covid-19 P.R. Primary.


Class bubbles and individual art equipment is to be used.  Any shared resources must be cleaned before being returned to storage.

Electronics/Musical Instruments/Share Resources must be cleaned before being returned to storage.

Shared Books.   Children should wash hands before and after choosing a library book.

If textbooks are collected hands should be washed before and after collection and distribution.

Hygiene and Cleaning in School

The Cleaning rota for the school has been changed to ensure that toilets, sinks and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles are cleaned daily.

All bins including paper towel disposal bins will be emptied daily.

All staff will have access to cleaning products and will be required to maintain cleanliness of their own work area.

Cleaning/Disinfecting rooms where a pupil/staff member with suspected Covid19 was present.

The person assigned to cleaning should avoid touching their face while they are cleaning and should wear household gloves and a plastic apron.

The room should be cleaned as soon as practicably possible.

The surfaces should be cleaned with disposable cleaning cloths and a household detergent followed by disinfection.   If the pupil or staff diagnosed with Covid-19 spent time in a communal area or toilet they should be cleaned in the same manner.

Dealing with a Suspected Case of Covid-19

The designated isolation area is the disabled toilet beside the P.E. Hall.  If a second area is needed a chair will be placed in the corner of the school hall.

If the person is a pupil the parents or guardians should be immediately contacted.

The Principal or a person appointed by the Principal in his absence will accompany the suspected to isolation.   A face covering may need to be worn by the principal or carer appointed by him if it is not possible to manage reasonable physical distancing.

When a parent collects a sick child the parent must take responsibility for advising a G.P. by phone of the symptoms.

If the sick person is a member of staff the member of staff must go home and inform the G.P. of their symptoms.  If the person is too unwell to go home or if advice is required we will contact 999 or 112 and inform them the sick person is a Covid-19 suspect.

The rooms and corridors where the sick person has been will be cleaned and sanitised.  The school has purchased cleaning supplies and a fogging machine to help this cleaning process.  If a classroom needs to be fogged it will be done at the next available break when the classroom is empty.

Once tested the H.S.E. will inform the school if a diagnosis of Covid-19 is made and the instructions of the H.S.E. will be followed.  Staff confidentiality is essential.

An assessment of the incident will be carried out by the principal or lead organiser.

Special Educational Needs 

Support teaching will continue to be provided.   We will endeavour to reduce the movement of pupils and teachers and maintain the class bubble where possible.

Support teachers should clean and disinfect their work area and pupil areas including door handles between groups.

Equipment used should be visibly clean.

Equipment used by different groups should be cleaned and disinfected between groups.

Hand Hygiene 

Children who are unable to wash their hands themselves should be assisted by the teacher or S.N.A. to clean their hands.

If equipment is soiled with body fluids.  First clean thoroughly with detergent and water, then disinfect.

Staff Duties

  • Adhere to the School Covid-19 Response Plan.
  • Complete the R.T. W.
  • Must inform the Principal if there are circumstances relating to Covid-19 not included on the form which relate to their safe return to work.
  • Must complete Covid-19 Induction Training and any follow on training.
  • Must be aware of and adhere to good hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Coordinate and work with colleagues to ensure physical distancing is maintained.
  • Be aware of Covid-19 symptoms including their own.
  • Self-isolate and contact G.P. if they consider they may have Covid-19.
  • Not return to school if they have symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Keep informed of the updated advice from public health authorities.

Covid-19 Absence Management

This will be in line with the directions from The Department of Education.

Employee Assistance and Wellbeing

Support for school staff wellbeing will be provided by The Department Support Services including the P.D.S.T. and C.S.L. as well as the H.S.E.s Health Promotion Team.  The Employee Assistance Service is provided by Spectrum Life under the logo of “Wellbeing Together”, Folláinne Le Chéile and can be contacted by Freephone 1800 411057.

Covid-19 Closure Continuity

In the event of the school being temporarily closed by the Department of Education we will continue to use Edmodo as our communications platform.