Covid-19 response plan for safe reopening of Magh Éne College

Updated February 2021

COVID-19 response plan for
safe reopening of Magh Ene

The COVID-19 Response Plan is designed to support the staff and Board of Management
(BOM) in putting measures in place that aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our
school environment. The COVID-19 Response Plan details the policies and practices
necessary for our school to meet the Government’s ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’, the
Department of Education plan for school reopening that will aim to prevent the introduction
and spread of COVID-19 in our school environment. It is the responsibility of all staff,
parents and students to work together to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19
in our school and to ensure the continuity of schooling for our students. 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 this COVID-19 Response Plan and associated control measures.
Responsibility for the development and implementation of this COVID-19 Response Plan and
the associated control measures lies with the Board of Management and school
management. This Covid-19 Response Plan is fluid and may alter depending on Public Health
advice over the coming weeks. Any updates to the response plan will be emailed to all
parties. Parents and students can also play a role in ensuring the safe return to school.
Please continue to observe all the Public Health Advice that has been and will be issued.

 Please note that it is a requirement for anyone coming into Ireland, from locations other
than those with a rating of ‘normal precautions’ (‘green’), to restrict their movements for 14
days, and this includes school staff, parents and children or other students coming from
abroad to attend school in Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in
one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as
possible. Our school has a duty of care to all of its students and staff members. If there are
reasonable grounds for believing that this duty of care is being undermined in circumstances
where a person – staff member or student – has not observed the mandatory requirement
to self-isolate for 14 days following return from a non-green list country, the school will
refuse access to the student or staff member during this period. Much work is underway in
planning for school reopening from 1st September 2020. Health and safety and wellbeing of
staff and students will be of priority concern and to this effect, there will be many changes

to the day to day running of our school and new systems that staff and students must work
School COVID-19 Policy
A COVID-19 policy outlines the commitment of the school to implement the plan and help
prevent the spread of the virus. The policy, signed and dated by the principal and the
chairperson of the BOM has been circulated to the staff, students, parents and others. The
Magh Ene Collegel COVID-19 policy can be found in the appendices of this document.

Planning and Preparing for Return to School

The BOM/ETB aims to facilitate the resumption of school based teaching and learning and
the return to the workplace of staff. The return to the workplace must be done safely and in
strict adherence to the public health advice and any guidance issued by the Department of
Details for the safe reopening of the schools and the applicable controls are outlined in this
In preparation for reopening Magh Ene College has the following in place:

  1. Means of keeping up to date with public health advice, changes to any Government
    plans for the safe reopening of society and Department of Education updates;
  2. Means of passing on this information in a timely manner to staff, students, parents
    and others as required;
  3. Ensured that staff have reviewed the training materials provided by the Department
    of Education
  4. Provided staff with access to the Return to Work (RTW) form via google forms
  5. Appointed a Lead Worker representative
  6. Displayed posters and other signage to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19
  7. Made the necessary changes to the school layout to support the redesign of
    classrooms to support physical distancing
  8. Removed unnecessary clutter to facilitate ongoing cleaning of the school but take
    into account the importance of having educational materials to create a stimulating
    learning environment; 
  9. Updated the health and safety risk assessment
  10. Made necessary arrangements to restrict access to the school and maintain records
    of contacts to the school
  11. Reviewed the school buildings to check the following: 
     Flushing outlets following low usage to prevent Legionella disease; 
     School equipment and mechanical ventilation checked for signs of
    deterioration or damage before being used again;  
     Bin collections and other essential services have resumed. 

Specific measures taken by Magh Ene College are outlined below:
• Hand sanitiser dispensers installed inside and outside every classroom and in the
• Classrooms rearranged to ensure a minimum of 1m social distancing between
• Reduced access to lockers and only at prearranged times.
• Existing classrooms reconfigured and Hall Balcony converted to accommodate
additional classroom space.
• Posters and awareness signs displayed throughout the building.
• Induction training being completed by all staff.
• Additional Chromebooks purchased with four mobile trolleys of 30 units for student
use. Students will continue to use these to integrate ICT into teaching and learning, and
also as part of our structured plan, should it be necessary to return to online learning in
the event of a school closure.
• Students are required to bring their own reusable face mask to school which should
be stored in a ziplock bag. The mask should be a plain colour. Disposable masks are

available if needed. Students will wear masks where a physical distance of 2m cannot
be maintained between other students and staff. All students must adhere to this.
 If a student has a medical reason for not wearing a mask, parents/guardians should
inform the school in writing.
• For the protection of all students and staff, members of staff will wear a mask or face

New systems being implemented to minimise student interaction and crossover
between year groups:
• All junior students accommodated in a designated seat in a base classroom upstairs.
• All senior students accommodated in a designated seat in a base classroom
• Separate exit doors assigned to classrooms.
• In the morning all students will enter via the PE Hall, with each year group having a
designated zone prior to moving to base classes at 8.45am. Students should walk / cycle
to school where possible and arrive as close as possible to 8.45am. Students should not
congregate outside the school building.
• Hands to be washed with water and soap and/or sanitised regularly
throughout the day.
• There will be staggered break times for all year groups as below:
Morning break
10.55 – 11.10am 1 st and 2 nd years
11.10 – 11.25am 3 rd and TY
11.25 – 11.40am 5 th and 6 th year

Lunch break
12.45 – 1.25pm 1 st , 2 nd and 3 rd years
1.25 – 2.05pm TY, 5 th and 6 th years

  1. Students will remain in base classrooms for break time and while eating during lunch
    break. Food from the canteen must be pre-ordered and will be brought to the students’
    base rooms. We have organised for an online ordering and cashless payment system to
    be introduced by the catering company by mid-September. Please see attached leaflet
    for further information. Pending the introduction of the new system, students can pre-
    order food each morning and pay at intervals to be arranged by the catering company.
    • There is an enhanced cleaning regime and an updated cleaning checklist in place
    following HSE guidelines.
    • An isolation area has been designated for students who become unwell during the
    school day.
    • It is necessary to reduce the number of visitors to the school, therefore where
    possible, matters relating to students be discussed with parents/guardians over the
    phone. Where necessary, appointments can be arranged by phoning or emailing the
    school office. Visitors must wear a face mask/visor and may be asked to remain in their
    car or a designated waiting area until the appointment time.

We ask that students remain at home if they are unwell and especially if showing any
of the following symptoms:
• A fever (We recommend checking your child’s temperature every morning)
• Cough
• Shortness of breath
• Lost or changed sense of taste or smell
• If your son/daughter is identified as a close contact of a Covid 19 case they have to be
kept at home from school and contact your doctor.

• We will be expecting the school uniform to be worn as normal.
• It is recommended to wash the school uniform at least twice a week, at the weekend
and on the day that they have PE.
• Wash reusable face masks every evening at 60 degrees.
• Advise your child of the importance of avoiding physical contact with other students or
staff members including handshaking, hugging etc
• Anyone attending the school will have to complete a Contact Tracing Log.
• On the first day back students should enter through the front door and go straight to
rooms 1 and 2. All of the new arrangements will be explained to them there.

We understand that students’ will encounter many changes on their return but this
is for the benefit of the entire community. We look forward to providing as
comprehensive an educational experience as possible for all students, and acknowledge
the impact that the school closure may have had. We look ahead positively to the
return to teaching and learning, and supporting students’ wellbeing.

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 have full knowledge and
understanding of the following: 

  1. Latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health
  2. COVID-19 symptoms
  3. What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms of COVID-19 while at
  4. 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
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/ETB. 
Note: A link to the Induction Training developed by the Department of Education and
Skills for reopening schools was emailed to each staff member.

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 electronically from the principal. A copy has been circulated to all staff
members via google forms. A hard copy is available in the appendices.
A RTW form should be completed and returned 3 days before returning to work.  
On receipt of the completed form the principal will provide details of the Induction Training
for completion by staff prior to the return to the workplace 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.
There are some school staff who may be unable to return to school. Current public health
guidelines have identified these people as being in groups who are defined as being at very
high risk.
People at very high risk (extremely vulnerable):
The list of people in very high risk groups include people who:

  1. are over 70 years of age –  even if fit and well
  2. have had an organ transplant
  3. are undergoing active chemotherapy for cancer
  4. are having radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  5. have cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or
    myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  6. are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  7. are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system,
    such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  8. have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still
    taking immunosuppression drugs
  9. have severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma,
    pulmonary fibrosis, lung fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and severe COPD
  10. have a condition that means they have a very high risk of getting infections (such as
    SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  11. are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high
    doses of steroids or immunosuppression therapies)
  12. have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
    The advice for this group is available from the HSE. Details of the arrangements that will
    apply for these staff, which will be in accordance with those applying for the public service
    generally, will be updated by the Department of Education following consultation with
    management bodies and unions and a circular will issue to all schools. 

Lead Worker Representative

The protocol provides for the appointment of a Lead Worker Representative (LWR) in each
workplace. The LWR will work in collaboration with school management 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, they
should contact the LWR who will engage with school management.
The LWR appointed: Mr. John Reilly

In summary, the role of the LWR is to:

  1. Represent all staff in the workplace regardless of role, and be aware of specific
    issues that may arise in respect of different staff cohorts;
  2. Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 public health advice;
  3. 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;
  4. Consult with school management on the control measures required to minimise the
    risk of staff and students being exposed to COVID-19;
  5. Promote good hygiene practices, in conjunction with school management, such as
    washing hands regularly and maintaining good respiratory etiquette along with
    maintaining social distancing in accordance with public health advice;
  6. Assist school management with the implementation of measures to suppress COVID-
    19 in the workplace in line with the Return to Work Safely Protocol and current
    public health advice;
  7. Monitor, in conjunction with school management, adherence to measures put in
    place to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  8. Conduct reviews of safety measures that are in place to address and suppress
    COVID-19 in the workplace. Reviews (including an examination of the workplace)
    should be conducted on a regular basis (at least twice per week);
  9. Report any issues of concern immediately to school management and keep records
    of such issues and actions taken to rectify them;
  10. 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;
  11. Following any incident, assess with the school management any follow up action that
    is required;
  12. Consult with colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace;
  13. Make representations to school management on behalf of their colleagues on
    matters relating to 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 other s/he
    should contact the LWR/s who will engage with the Principal/ETB. 
    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 control


Magh Ene College has displayed signage outlining the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and
to support good hand and respiratory hygiene .The signage has been located in prominent
areas such as offices, corridors, staffroom area, classrooms and toilets. 

Making Changes to School Layout  

Maintaining physical distancing in the school environment is recommended as one of the
key control measures to minimize the risk of the introduction and spread of COVID-19. 
Magh Ene College has reconfigured classrooms and other areas to support physical
distancing in line with the guidance in advance of school reopening. 

Health and Safety Risk Assessment 

COVID-19 represents a hazard in the context of health and safety in the school environment.
A review of  emergency procedures involving, fire safety, first aid, accidents and dangerous

occurrences has taken place to consider any new risks that arise due to the school’s COVID-
19 Response Plan. Any changes to the schools existing emergency procedures have been
documented and incorporated into the school’s safety statement. 
A  risk assessment arranged by Donegal ETB has taken place to consider any new risks that
arise due to the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan. Recommended changes have been
documented and incorporated into the school’s statement.
First Aid/emergency procedure
The standard First Aid/emergency procedure shall continue to apply. In an emergency or in
case of a serious incident, schools should call for an ambulance or the fire brigade on
112/999 giving details of location and type of medical incident. 

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
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 is maintained.  The school will maintain a log of
staff and students contacts.
All school records and data will be maintained and processed in compliance with the GDPR
and the Data Protection Acts.

Control Measures – To prevent Introduction and Spread of COVID-19 in Schools

One of the key messages to manage the risks of COVID-19 is to do everything practical to
avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If infection is not introduced it cannot
be spread. The risk of spreading the infection once introduced exists in all interpersonal
interactions; student – student, teacher – teacher and teacher- student, and must be
managed in all settings. 
A range of essential control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of the
spread of COVID -19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of staff, students,
parents and visitors as far as possible within the school. The control measures shall continue
to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis. 
How to Minimise the Risk of Introduction of COVID-19 into schools:
Promote awareness of COVID-19 symptoms

  1. Advise staff and pupils to self-isolate or restrict their movements at home if they
    display any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and contact their family doctor to
    arrange a test
  2. Advise staff and pupils not to return to or attend school in the event of the following:
     if they are identified by the HSE as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
     if they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus
     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.
     Advise staff and pupils 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;
  3. Advise staff and students 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; 
  4. Advise staff and students that develop symptoms at school to bring this to the
    attention of the principal (or deputy principal if the principal is unavailable)
  5. Ensure that staff and students know the protocol for managing a suspected case of
    COVID-19 in school
  6. Advise everyone entering the school building that they needs to perform hand
    hygiene with a hand sanitiser;
  7. Advise all relevant parties that visitors to the school during the day should be by
    prior arrangement with the principal and should be received at a specific contract
  8. Physical distancing of 2 metres should be maintained between staff and visitors
    where possible. 

The Symptoms of COVID-19

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

  1. High temperature
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  4. Loss of smell, of taste or distortion of taste

Respiratory Hygiene 

Good respiratory hygiene is promoted. This means covering your mouth and nose with a
tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue
immediately and safely into a nearby bin.
By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such
as cold, flu and COVID-19.

Hand Hygiene

Staff and students should understand why hand hygiene is important as well as when and
how to wash their hands.
Schools should promote good hygiene and display posters throughout the schools on how
to wash your hands. Follow the HSE guidelines on handwashing:
Hand hygiene can be achieved by hand washing or use of a hand sanitiser (when hands look
Use of hand hygiene facilities including wash hand basins will be managed so as to avoid
congregation of people waiting to use wash hand basins and hand sanitisers.
Wash hand basins, running water, liquid soap and hand drying facilities is provided in all
toilets, kitchens and any food preparation areas.
Hand washing facilities should be maintained in good condition and supplies of soap and
towels should be topped up regularly to encourage everyone to use them. 
Hot air dryers are an acceptable alternative for hand drying but must be regularly
Posters displaying hand washing techniques and promoting hand washing are placed on
walls adjacent to washing facilities and can be laminated or placed in a plastic sleeve. 
Hand washing facilities should be used after activities that are likely to soil hands, for
example playing outside or certain sporting activities as hand sanitiser does not work on
dirty hands
Hand sanitiser is suitable for use for hand hygiene when hands are not visibly soiled (look
Evidence of effectiveness is best for alcohol based hand rubs but non-alcohol based hand
rubs can be used too.

When hand rubs/gels are being used in school care should be taken to ensure that students
do not ingest them as they are flammable and toxic. 
Alcohol-based sanitiser must not be stored or used near heat or naked flame
Frequency of Hand Hygiene
Students and staff should perform hand hygiene:

  1. On arrival at school;
  2. Before eating or drinking;
  3. After using the toilet;
  4. After petting animals;
  5. After playing outdoors;
  6. When their hands are physically dirty;
  7. When they cough or sneeze. 


Physical Distancing

Physical distancing can be usefully applied in a post primary school setting allowing for some
flexibility when needed. It must be applied in a practical way to recognise that the learning
environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue.
Care should be taken to avoid generating tension or potential conflict and some flexibility in
the implementation of measures may be required at time. 
It is also recognised that it is not always possible for staff to maintain physical distance from
students and it is not appropriate that they would always be expected to do so where this
could have a detrimental impact on the student. 
However 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. 

Physical distancing falls into two categories:

  1. Increasing separation
  2. Decreasing interaction

Increasing separation 
Measures have been taken in accordance with the Framework to maintain Physical
Distancing in the Classroom in Post Primary Schools with a full return of all Students for the
2020/21 School Year as below:
 Reconfigure class spaces to maximise physical distancing;
 Utilising and reconfiguring all available space in the school in order to maximise
physical distancing;
 Review Timetables;
 Reconfiguring Classes;
 The option of using Live Streaming within the School; and

Decreasing interaction 
Where physical distancing of 2m was not possible at least a 1m distance is maintained
between desks or between individual students or staff. 
As far as possible and practical, students would remain in the classroom and teachers would
move between rooms.
As far as possible and practical students would be assigned to a main class cohort which
would remain in the classroom for most subjects, with teachers moving between rooms.
Where possible and practical double classes should be planned to minimise movement
during the day. 

Where students have an elective subject they would move quickly into the new class and
would be seated with members of their class cohort, observing as much physical distance as
Hand washing and/or sanitising would be required when moving between classes by
teachers and students. 
Physical distancing between the teacher and class would be observed. 
Where movement of class groups between rooms is required it should be planned to
minimise interaction with other class groups. 
Limit interaction on arrival and departure and in hallways and other shared areas.
Social physical contact (hand to hand greetings, hugs) should be discouraged. 
Where students need to move about within the classroom to perform activities (access to a
shared resource) it should be organized to the greatest degree possible to minimise
congregation at the shared resource. 
Staff and students should avoid sharing of personal items.
Where teaching and learning involves use of keyboards or tablets, the contact surface of the
device should be cleaned regularly and hand hygiene encouraged. 

Physical Distancing outside of the classroom and within the school
School drop off/collection
Walking/cycling to school is encouraged as much as possible. 
Designated exit doors have been assigned to student year groups
Students should head straight to their designated learning space/classroom. 

A distance of 2m is recommended for physical distancing by staff. This is particularly
relevant to distancing between adults when they are not engaged in teaching such as the
staff room and arriving to work. 
If 2m cannot be maintained in staff groups, as much as distance as is possible and updated
guidance on face covering should be observed. 
Staff meetings should be held remotely or in small groups or in large spaces to facilitate
physical distancing. 
Implement no hand shaking policy.
Minimise gathering at the beginning or end of the school day. 
Canteen use has been staggered with food being taken directly to students in their base

Use of PPE in Schools

The updated advice from the HPSC to the Department of Education has recommended that
face coverings should be worn by staff members where it is not possible to maintain a
physical distance of 2 metres from other staff, parents, essential visitors or pupils.  The
Department has accepted this recommendation.  Accordingly, it is now a requirement for
face coverings to be worn by staff members where it is not possible to maintain a physical
distance of 2 metres from other staff, parents, essential visitors or pupils.

PPE will also need to be used at certain work activities or work areas. These might include
roles such as: 

  1. Performing intimate care 
  2. Where a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified while the school is in operation 
  3. Where staff are particularly vulnerable to infection but are not in the list of those
    categorised as people in very high risk groups, or may be living with people who are
    in a very high risk category;
  4. Administering first aid
  5. Parent Teacher meetings 

Where staff provide healthcare to children with medical needs in the school environment
they should apply standard precautions as per usual practice.
Reception Areas
A perspex screen has been located in the reception area where it is not possible for staff to
maintain a physical distance of 2m from other staff or students. 
Masks/Face Coverings
Cloth face coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into
the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face covering coughs, sneezes,
talks or raises their voice. Cloth face coverings are therefore intended to prevent
transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to
those with whom they come into close contact. 
It is therefore a requirement that teachers, staff and students attending post primary
schools wear a face covering when a physical distance of 2m from other staff or students
cannot be maintained. 
All students on the post primary transport scheme are asked to wear face coverings unless
there is a good reason not to do so. 
Cloth face coverings 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 covering, for example persons with intellectual or developmental
disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity. 

All staff and students wearing face coverings should be 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 covering. 
Information on the proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings is provided
All teachers and staff should be aware that they should wash or sanitize hands (using a hand
sanitizer) before and after helping a student put on or adjust a face covering. 
Face coverings should be stored in a space designated for each student that is separate from
others when not being worn (e.g., in individually labelled containers or bags). 
Cloth face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used
again, or if visibly soiled. 
Face coverings should not be worn if they are wet. A wet cloth face covering may make it
difficult to breathe. 
Additional disposable face coverings are available for students, teachers, and staff in case a
back-up face covering is needed during the day. 
Medical Grade Masks
The school will provide medical grade masks in the EN16483 category to all SNAs and those
staff by necessity that need to be in close and continued proximity with pupils with intimate
care needs including School Bus Escorts.
Wearing a face covering or mask does not negate the need to stay at home if symptomatic. 
The use of disposable gloves in the school by students or staff is not generally appropriate
but may be necessary for matters such as cleaning, intimate care settings or when

administering first aid. Routine use does not protect the wearer and may expose others to
risk from contaminated gloves. 
Routine use of disposable gloves is not a substitute for hand hygiene. 

Aprons may also be appropriate in certain circumstances including for intimate care needs
or for staff assigned to cleaning an area where a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19
was present. 
The Department of Education has published guidance setting out the practical steps for
good ventilation in accordance with public health advice ‘Practical Steps for the Deployment
of Good Ventilation Practices in Schools’ The guidance sets out an overall approach for
schools that windows should be open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use
(e.g. during break-times or lunch-times (assuming not in use) and also at the end of each
school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. The guidance provides that good
ventilation can be achieved in classrooms without causing discomfort, particularly during
cold weather.
Please see appendix for “Practical Steps for the Deployment of Good Ventilation Practices in

Impact of COVID-19 on certain school activities 

Choir/Music Performance
Choir practices/performances and music practices/performances involving wind
instruments may pose a higher level of risk and special consideration should be given to
how they are held ensuring that the room is well-ventilated and the distance between
performers is maintained.

Sport Activities
The HPSC guidance on Return to Sport will be followed.
Shared Equipment
Art – Where possible students should be encouraged to have their own individual art and
equipment supplies. 
Electronics – Shared electronic devices such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards should be
cleaned between use and consideration could be given to the use of wipeable covers for
electronics to facilitate cleaning. 
Musical Equipment/Instruments – To the greatest extent possible, instruments should not
be shared between students and if sharing is required, the instruments should be 
Library Policy – Where practical students should have their own books. Textbooks that are
shared are covered in a wipeable plastic covering that can be wiped with a suitable
household cleaning agent between uses. Students should be encouraged to perform hand
hygiene after using any shared item. 
Shared Sports Equipment – Minimise equipment sharing and clean shared equipment
between uses by different people. 

Hygiene and Cleaning in Schools 

Cleaning staff have completed induction training and HPSC advice is being followed in
relation to cleaning. This advice sets out the cleaning regime required to support schools to
prevent COVID-19 infections and the enhanced cleaning required in the event of a
suspected cases of COVID-19.
In summary, each school setting should be cleaned at least once per day. Additional
cleaning if available should be focused on frequently touched surfaces – door handles, hand
rails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities. 

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. 
All staff will have access to cleaning products and will be required to maintain cleanliness of
their own work area.  Under no circumstances should these cleaning materials be removed
from the building. 
Staff should 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 must use and clean their own equipment and utensils (cup, cutlery, plate etc.).
Cleaning/Disinfecting rooms where a student/staff member with suspected COVID-19 was
The rooms should be cleaned as soon as practicable possible.
Once the room is vacated the room should not be reused until it has been thoroughly
cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry.
Disinfection only works on things that are clean. Therefore when disinfection is required it is
always in addition to cleaning. 
Person/s assigned to cleaning should avoid touching their face while they are cleaning and
household gloves and a plastic apron.
Clean the environment and furniture using disposable cleaning cloths and a household
detergent followed by disinfection with a chlorine based product (household bleach). 
Pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces, the back of chairs, couches, door
handles and any surfaces that are visibly soiled with body fluids. 
Once the room has been cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry, the room can be

Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19 

School staff are 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.

Staff or students should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. The
following outlines how a school should deal with a suspected case that may arise in a school

The PE office has been identified as an isolation area and will be solely used for this
purpose, accommodating two persons at a distance of 2m. Should additional space be
required an area has been identified.

If a staff member/student displays symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, the following are
the procedures to be implemented:

  1. If the person with the suspected case is a student, the parents/guardians should be
    contacted immediately;
  2. Isolate the person and have a procedure in place to accompany the individual to the
    designated isolation area via the isolation route, keeping at least 2 metres away from
    the symptomatic person and also making sure that others maintain a distance of at
    least 2 metres from the symptomatic person at all times;
  3. If it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2m a staff member caring for a student
    should wear a face covering or mask. Gloves should not be used as the virus does not
    pass through skin;
  4. Provide a mask for the person presenting with symptoms He/she should wear the
    mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises;
  5. Assess whether the individual who is displaying symptoms can immediately be
    directed to go home/be brought home by parents and call their doctor and continue
    self-isolation at home;
  6. Facilitate the person presenting with symptoms remaining in isolation if they cannot
    immediately go home and facilitate them calling their doctor. The individual should
    avoid touching people, surfaces and objects. Advice should be given to the person
    presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue
    provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bag provided;
  7. If the person is well enough to go home, arrange 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 should not be
  8. If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, contact 999 or 112 and
    inform them that the sick person is a COVID-19 suspect;
  9. Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow-
    up actions and recovery;
  10. Arrange 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
student confidentiality is essential at all times. 

Staff Duties
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. 
 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
 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
 Adhere to the procedure outlined above if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19
whilst within the school facility.
  Not to return to or attend school in the event of the following:
 if they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus
 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.
 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 in their school as part of mass
or serial testing as advised by Public Health
 Keep themselves informed of the updated advice of the public health authorities and
comply with same.

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 and Wellbeing Programme

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’.

Appendix 1

COVID-19 Policy Statement

Magh Ene College 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 the
following COVID-19 Response Plan.  The BOM/ETB 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:

  1. continue to monitor our COVID-19 response and amend this plan in consultation
    with our staff
  2. provide up to date information to our staff and students on the Public Health advice
    issued by the HSE and 
  3. display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct hand-
    washing techniques 
  4. agree with staff, a worker representative who is easily identifiable to carry out the
    role outlined in this plan in relation to summer provision
  5. inform all staff and students of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and
    physical distancing requirements
  6. adapt the school to facilitate physical distancing as appropriate in line with the public
    health guidance and direction of the Department of Education 
  7. keep a contact log to help with contact tracing
  8. ensure staff and  students engage with the induction / familiarisation briefing
    provided by the Department of Education
  9. implement the agreed procedures to be followed in the event of someone showing
    symptoms of COVID-19 while at school
  10. provide instructions for staff and students  to follow if they develop signs and
    symptoms of COVID-19 during school time 
  11. 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: _________

Appendix 2
Pre-Return to Work Questionnaire COVID-19
This questionnaire must be completed by staff at least 3 days in advance of returning to work.
If the answer is Yes to any of the below questions, you are advised to seek medical advice before
returning to work.
Name: ____________
Name of School: ____________
Name of Principal: ____________ Date: ____
Questions YES NO

  1. Do you have symptoms of cough, fever, high temperature, difficulty
    breathing, loss or change in your sense of smell or taste now or in
    the past 14 days?

Have you been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
infection in the last 14 days?

Are you awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test?

In the past 14 days, have you been in contact with a person who is a
confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?

  1. Have you been advised by a doctor to self-isolate at this time?
  2. Have you been advised to restrict your movements at this time?

Have you been advised to cocoon at this time? Note: if you’re at
very high risk (extremely vulnerable) from COVID-19 you may be
advised to cocoon.
I confirm, to the best of my knowledge that I have no symptoms of COVID-19, am not self-isolating, awaiting results of a
COVID-19 test or been advised to restrict my movements. Please note: The school is collecting this sensitive personal data
for the purposes of maintaining safety within the workplace in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal basis for
collecting this data is based on vital public health interests and maintaining occupational health and will be held securely in
line with our retention policy.

Signed: _________________________
Appendix 3
Magh Ene College Contact Tracing Log

Name of
Magh Ene College School Contact

Mr. Pat Tighe

of School
Church Road,
Co. Donegal,
F94 YT78.

For Queries only:
Phone No

071 9841244

Name of

Was the visit pre-arranged
with the Principal?
Yes  No 

Date of
Visit Time

to school ___
. am  pm 
from School __
. . am  pm 

 Parent/Guardian 

Other  Please complete:

details of
(if applicable)

Contact No. Email Address

Reason for
Who the visitor met (separate line required for each person the visitor met)
Name of Person visited Length of time spent with
each person in the school

Appendix 4
Practical Steps for the Deployment of Good Ventilation Practices in Schools
30 November 2020

The implementation of the COVID-19 Response Plan by a school is the means through which
schools can best prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 and demonstrate that they are
operating in accordance with the requirements of the Roadmap for the Full Return to School, the
Public Health advice from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and the Return to
Work Safely Protocol developed by the Health & Safety Authority. These documents are available
The public health guidance for reopening schools and educational facilities includes some
important recommendations about ventilation practices in schools:
 Consider if room ventilation especially in classrooms can be improved without causing
discomfort.  Where possible the opening of doors and windows should be encouraged to increase
natural ventilation.  Increase air flow and ventilation weather permitting.

The following practical measures for the deployment of good ventilation practices in schools
should be considered by schools in the implementation of their COVID-19 Response Plans:

  1. In summary, the overall approach for schools should be to have windows open as fully as
    possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during break-times or lunch-times (assuming not in
    use) and also at the end of each school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. It is
    worth noting that windows do not need to be open as wide in windy/colder weather in order to
    achieve the same level of airflow into the classroom. This will assist in managing comfort levels in
    classrooms during periods of colder weather.
  2. Most schools rely on the opening of windows i.e. natural ventilation and therefore it is
    important that windows and air vents can be accessed and opened.
  3. Rooms should be well ventilated before occupancy each day. This can be achieved by ensuring
    that at the end of the school day each evening, the windows in each room should be opened (as
    wide as practical and safe while also considering security issues) for at least 15 minutes to
    ventilate the room fully.
  4. Windows should also be open at break times and at lunchtimes for at least 15 minutes where
  5. Classrooms for the first class on the following school day (where the above

end of day
ventilating has occurred) can consider maintaining partially opened windows as per guidance
below to keep the room fresh and prevent stuffiness and condensations etc.

  1. Achieving fresh air via a number of windows partially opened as required rather than one
    window fully open can help to maximise the use of window driven natural ventilation distribution
    across the room without causing discomfort.
  2. In colder weather any local chilling effect can be offset by partially opening the windows
    nearest and above the radiators.
  3. Make sure that air movement is not blocked by furniture or window blinds and curtains.
  4. Consideration should be given to local circumstances that may require to have additional
    windows open such as after break time activities
  5. Rooms with adequate fresh air should not be stuffy or have condensation on the window
  6. Schools should also ensure that all permanent ventilation openings in rooms are fully open and
    not blocked by wall hangings etc. These normally are either a circular or rectangle ventilation grill
    on the external classroom wall or linear slot type ventilators built into the window frames. All of
    these should be opened all the time, if they have been taped and sealed for decorating purposes
    then the tape/sealing should be removed. If a room does not have permanent background
    ventilation, provision of same should be considered based on professional construction advice and
    current Building Regulations.
  7. All mechanical ventilation systems and any air conditioning systems should be set to 100%
    fresh air, any air conditioning units that cannot operate on 100% fresh air (check with unit
    suppliers if in doubt) should be left off unless it is complemented by an adequate outside air
    supply such as openable windows, as this can help to provide outside air to occupants and
    maintain thermal comfort.
  8. If the corridors and staircases have no identifiable ventilation systems and rely on air
    infiltration from adjoining spaces as many transient spaces do, consideration should be given to
    ventilating these areas before and after break times by opening doors etc., this needs to be

considered taking into account the fire strategy of the building. Where stairwells have opening
windows, consideration should be given to their utilisation.

  1. Keeping open the internal doors into classrooms for periods of time may assist with increasing
    air movement and ventilation rate. It is important to note that fire doors should not be kept open
    unless fitted with approved automatic closers so that they function as fire doors in the event of an
    alarm or fire.
  2. Schools should ensure there is appropriate ventilation of staffrooms, offices and other areas
    used primarily by staff, and in the context that some of these areas are used by different groups of
    staff at different times. This is in addition to the use of face coverings and adequate cleaning.
  3. Schools should ensure there is appropriate ventilation of areas such as sanitary facilities, gyms,
    multi-purpose rooms and libraries etc. which are used by different groups of pupils and promote
    proactive use of open windows and any extractor fans when these spaces are in use.

The Department considers the above practical steps are sufficient to ensure good ventilation
practices in school while at the same time ensuring an appropriate balance between ventilation
and comfort.

The Department’s Planning and Building Unit has reviewed the HPSC guidance that
consideration be given to installing an indoor air quality monitor in classrooms.

The HPSC guidance is based on general guidance published by the Federation of European
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA). The purpose of a monitor is to
assist in determining when windows should be opened. Such monitors are already included in the
Department’s Technical Design Guidance, published in February 2018 (TGD 033). The rationale for
the inclusion of guidance on the installation of monitors within the Department’s TGD at that time
was driven by the increased levels of insulation and air-tightness in new classrooms built since
2018 and the objective to increase awareness about ventilation, with associated guidance on
when to open windows in these very airtight school buildings. The REHVA guidance recommends
that windows should be opened when the monitor indicates that CO2 levels exceed 800 parts per
million (ppm). Given that this threshold is at 800 ppm compared to the standard setting of 1,500
ppm the Department considers that the use of monitors will result in an outcome similar to the
approach taken in the above practical steps which recommend that windows are open as much as
possible while recognising the importance of also managing comfort levels (windows to be
partially open when classroom is in use and fully open when not in use).

It is also worth noting that the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which
provides scientific and technical advice to support its government decision makers during
emergencies notes with low confidence that continuous monitoring of CO2 may be possible to use
as a transmission risk indicator but further research is necessary to evaluate the potential
application of the approach for different spaces and to compare modelled results and actual
infection rates.

Given the above, it is the Department’s view that in the main windows are likely to be required
to be open at a frequency and level set out above to ensure appropriate levels of ventilation in the
classroom irrespective of whether the opening of windows is prompted through the indoor air
quality monitor (re-active approach) or through the pro-active approach outlined in the above
guidance. While this matter (and supporting data) will be kept under review, the Department
does not consider it necessary for schools to install such monitors in classrooms, where the
practical steps outlined above are applied. However, it is a matter for individual schools to
consider whether they wish to use some of their minor works grant funding for this purpose or
alternatively schools may wish to use some of their minor works grant funding for provision of
permanent background ventilation, where required, as referenced in above practical steps.

As part of managing comfort levels in classrooms, schools should check that their boilers
operation temperatures are set at the recommended manufacturers’ guidance levels to maximise
the available heat to the school. In addition, heating should operate for extended periods during
colder weather to counteract, as best as possible, the impact of windows being open (partially
when classrooms in use and fully when not in use) in order to maintain an appropriate balance
between ventilation and comfort levels.