Arrangements and protocols for the reopening of St. Patrick’s NS

September 2020

Please note: this is a working document and is subject to change according to the needs of the school community and or guidance from the Minister of Education. This document should be read along with the government issued ‘Covid19 Response Plan’, which can be accessed here –

Guiding principles

This document has been prepared in line with government guidance in order to ensure St. Patrick’s NS can reopen for pupils on Tuesday 1st September. The safely, health and well-being of the entire school community have been the foremost considerations in all plans and arrangements which have been made.

It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of transmission of Covid19, but with the co-operation of the entire school community, we can together reduce the risks of transmission. This plan, tailored for the needs of our school, is a vitally important element in reducing risk.

Covid19 prevention

Parents/Guardians are kindly asked to check their child/children’s temperature each morning before coming to school. A child displaying any of the following symptoms, should not be sent to school under any circumstances;

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

Observing good respiratory etiquette, frequent washing of hands and tracking of symptoms will be vital habits for all pupils and all members of the school community to observe. I would ask all children to bring a small packet of tissues to school each day. Hand sanitiser will be available from dispensers in all rooms in the school. Regular hand washing will take place throughout the day in every classroom.

Under the government COVID19 Response Plan, the wearing of masks or face coverings is not currently recommended for use by primary school aged children. Staff in schools have been directed to wear masks or face coverings when it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2m from a pupil or co-worker. Staff in St. Patrick’s NS will be wearing visors at all times throughout the school day and masks when it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2m from pupils or fellow staff members. I would ask you all to take some time to talk to your child/children and inform them that staff will be wearing masks at certain times of the day so they are prepared for this.

Possible cases of COVID19

If a pupil develops one or any combination of the four symptoms while in school, parents/guardians will be contacted immediately so the child can be collected and brought home. Pupils showing any of the symptoms listed above will be cared for in line with Department of Education procedures as outlined in Section 8 of the COVID19 Response Plan. Please see link at the top of this document or on our school website under the ‘School Reopening’ tab. 

Non-contact thermometers have been purchased and will be used to check a child’s temperature if needs be. Please be assured that all staff will be extremely mindful of the physical and mental well being of children when dealing with presentation of symptoms. Pupils will be cared for in a compassionate, sensitive and empathetic way as is always the case in our school.

If a child goes home from school with Symptoms of Covid19, Government guidelines state that parents/guardians must contact their doctor immediately for guidance.

Any member of staff who develops symptoms during the school day will be immediately sent home and will follow GP/HSE advice.

Morning arrangements

Arrival time at the school will be between 8:40 and 9:20. Normal arrangements will apply for dropping children off during these times. Parents/guardians have two options;

OPTION 1: Drive through the lower carpark, into the designated drop off area and let children exit the car onto the footpath on the left hand side. Parents/Guardians may not leave the car if choosing to drop children in the drop off area.

OPTION 2: Park in the lower car park and escort children as far as the gate of the school.

When children enter the school grounds, they will proceed directly to their classroom. There will be no congregation of pupils in the yards. Parents may not escort pupils beyond the gates of the school.

Staff will be on duty at the school gate and front yard in order to guide children to their classrooms via their designated entrance door. The door to be used to enter the school will depend on where a child’s classroom is located (please see chart below). There will be different coloured footprints painted on the ground showing a path to each of the different doors.

ClassEntrance/Colour Path
Junior Infants, Senior Infants, Ms. C. Doherty 2nd ClassMain Door – Follow the GREEN footprints
An Crann ÓgDoor at side of Crann Óg hall – follow the BLUE footprints
1st Class, 3rd Class, Mrs. E. Murray 2nd ClassFire escape door at end of corridor beside rain shelter – follow the RED footprints
4th class, 5th class, 6th classDoor beside the back stairs – follow the YELLOW footprints


Important points to note – Morning

  • It is vital that all children and adults practice social distancing at drop off times. To help with this, the large gate at the front of the school will be open, as well as the smaller side gates.
  • The ONLY area you may park in for dropping is in the lower car park. There is strictly no parking and leaving your car in the drop off area.
  • Parents are respectfully asked not to congregate at the gates of the school once children have been left off.
  • It will not be possible for parents to enter the school grounds beyond the school gate.


Access to school for parents or other visitors

Access to the school will be restricted to pupils and staff only.

If parents/guardians need to contact a member of staff (principal or child’s teacher for example) they are asked to contact the school by phone on 9125455 or via email:

Teachers will be using the Aladdin App as the primary means of communication with parents. For this reason, it is very important every parent has the app downloaded and active. Please contact Bridgetta by phone or email if you require help in this regard.

It will not be permitted for anyone to call to the school office unannounced.

No written messages should be sent to any member of staff or to the office.

Any visits to the school will strictly be by appointment only.

Every effort will be made to ensure work being carried out within the school (building work, plumbing etc.) is done outside of school hours.

Please understand these arrangements are being put in place in order to try to reduce the risk of Covid19 being introduced to our school.

Collection of pupils outside of normal home times

If a child needs to be collected before their normal home time, details need to be communicated via the methods listed above (phone or email). Information needed will be as follows;

  • Name of Child
  • Class
  • Time of collection
  • Time of return (if applicable)
  • Reason for early collection

All this information is required so a log of pupils can be kept in the office. Children being collected early will be brought to the secretary’s office at the time indicated for collection. Parents need to the office on 9125455 phone when they arrive to collect their child and wait at the main gate. Children will come to meet their parent/guardian at the gate, younger children escorted to the gate by a member of staff.

Classroom arrangements/School Zones/Break & Lunch time

Our entire school building has been divided in to four distinct zones –

  • An Crann Óg ASD centre
  • The 1st, 2nd & 3rd class corridor (old corridor)
  • The infant corridor
  • The senior corridor (upstairs)


School staff (teachers and Special Needs Assistants) have been divided into teams to work within one of these four areas. There will be no movement of children from one class to another under any circumstances. Movement of staff members between different classes and zones will be kept to an absolute minimum and will only take place within the guidelines set down by the department of education.

The department of education has set out guidelines for organisation of classes, please see section 5.4 of the COVID19 Response plan. All of our classrooms have been reconfigured strictly in line with Department of Education guidance in order to ensure the required distances are maintained between groups and individuals.

Your child’s class will be their ‘bubble’. This means they will only have contact with other children from within their own class at any stage during the school day. Within these bubbles, certain classes may be divided into ‘pods’. These pods will be made up of small groups of children who will share a set of desks or work area. Again, this model for seating children has been set out by the Department of Education. In the case of An Crann Óg, both Mrs. Boyle’s class and Ms. Browne’s class will be in the same bubble.

Children will only play with their own class at break and snack times. A number of different yard zones have been identified in order to ensure children have adequate space in which to play.

Uniforms/Books/Bags/Lunch Boxes

Children should wear their normal school uniform to school each day. Our crested jumper has been part of uniform for a number of years now but if parents have non-crested navy jumpers they wish to use for rotating jumpers that is perfectly fine. Children will wear their PE gear as normal on designated PE days.

Children should bring their school bag to school as normal. A very good quality 18 litre storage box has been sourced for every child in the school. Children will be able to empty all of their books and materials into these boxes on their first day back in school. After this the majority of children should only need to bring their lunch box in their bag to school each day. It is vitally important that all drinks bottles and lunch boxes are fully cleaned each and every evening.

Every child need to bring a coat to school every day. Children will hang coats on the back of chairs. We will be going outside for play as much as possible so if it is a day with a slight drizzle we will still be going out to play as rooms need to be ventilated and children benefit from fresh air. For this reason a coat will be very important.

No written homework will be sent home for the first two weeks of the new school year. This will give us time to establish protocols around bringing books and copies to and from school and homes.

Home time – Please take careful note, new arrangements in place

The entire school community of Lurgybrack NS are aware and understand that the location of our school, along with the size of our school population can make the business of getting children into cars or onto buses at the end of the school day very challenging. This is the case even in normal circumstances.

From September, in order to ensure that we can get children home at the end of the school day in a manner which ensures social distancing and safety, we have had to bring forward the end of the school day for pupils traveling home by car. This will be done on a staggered basis. Again, the plan set out below has been formulated in line with Department of Education guidelines.

The staggered home times are set out below and there are some examples of different scenarios set out below also.

Staggered home times will run as follows;

1:20 pm – Junior and Senior Infants going home by bus leave

1:30 pm – Remaining Junior and Senior Infants will be brought to gate to be collected*

2:00 pm – All 1st Class pupils going home by car, along with any older siblings or any other pupils sharing the same car will be in the yard for collection

2:10 pm – All 2nd class pupils going home by car and children who go in the same car as per arrangements outlined above

2:20 pm – All 3rd & 4th class pupils going home by car and any others as per arrangements above

2:30 pm – All 5th & 6th class pupils going home by car and any others as per arrangements above

2:40pm  – All bus pupils

*Please note – Our junior infants will go home at 12:30 from Thursday 3rd September until Friday 11th September. There after their bus/collection time will be 1:20 or 1:30.

Please read these examples carefully for more information on the home time arrangements set out above;

Example 1: ‘The Gallaghers’ – The Gallagher family are being collected from Lurgybrack by car. John is in 1st class, his sister Mary is in 3rd class and his brother Ryan is in 6th class. Home time for all of the Gallagher children is 2 pm.  At 2 pm, John will make his way to the front yard with his entire first class who are going home by car. Mary and Ryan will leave their classes and make their way to the front yard where they will stand together in a family group and wait for their parent/guardian to walk to the gate from the lower car park or pull up to the gate in the left lane to collect them.

Example 2: ‘The Car Pool’ – Kyle Murphy is in 2nd class. His sister Alice is in 4th class. Their neighbour Sophie O’ Donnell, 6th class, goes home with them everyday from school. Home time for all these children is 2:10pm. Kyle will make his way to the front yard with his entire 2nd class going home by car. Alice and Sophie will leave their classes and make their way to the front yard where they will stand together in a same car group and wait for the parent/guardian lifting that day to collect them at the front gate if they have parked in the lower car park or to pull up to the gate to collect them.

Example 3: ‘The Murphys’ – Aine Murphy is in Junior infants. Her sister Clodagh is in 1st class. Her brother James is in 6th class. All the Murphy’s go home by car. Aine will go home at 1:30. Unless Aine’s parent has a parking space in the lower car park, they must leave the school grounds and loop back arond to collect Clodagh and James at 2 pm.


  • If collecting in a car you should arrive at the time listed above for the YOUNGEST child in your family/car pool
  • If you are collecting an infant child at 1:30, you must still leave the grounds of the school to come back to collect any older siblings the older pupils UNLESS you are parked in the lower car park
  • The system can only function with the cooperation of the school community.
  • Parents/Guardians collecting 1st class pupils at 2pm may begin to park from 1:45. This will mean our first group out will get away quickly and this will ease pressure as more classes come to the yard for collection.
  • Parents/Guardians collecting 2nd – 6th class pupils should only come at the appointed time as listed above. There is no point in arriving at 2 pm for a 2:30 pick up as your child will not be in the yard ready for collection and you will not be able to park and wait as traffic needs to be kept moving.
  • Parents pulling up to the gate to collect children should only drive up the left lane. The right lane is to be kept free for those who have parked in the lower car park and walked up to collect their child.
  • The system relies hugely on parents arriving at the correct time to collect. We really wish to avoid a situation where a pupils are left standing for a long time.


It is of vital importance that every single pupil brings a coat to school every day. We will have to stand out and wait for lifts home even if it is raining. We will not be able to bring children into the porch, as we would have done previously, as this would make social distancing impossible. Every child must have a good, waterproof coat, with a hood that they can wear if they have to wait in the yard in inclement weather.

Travel Abroad

Any child who has travelled to a non-green list country must not return to school unless and until the mandatory period of 14 days quarantine has been observed.

Final words

Your cooperation with all of these measures is greatly appreciated. The Board of Management and the entire staff of the school have put a lot of thought and effort into planning a safe return to school for your child and everyone who works in our school. The success of this plan depends on us all and our willingness to follow the Government issued guidelines and the plan we have devised for St. Patrick’s NS.

I thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this document. I would ask both parents/guardians read it carefully so everyone is clear regarding the new arrangements for the safe reopening of our school. Please take some time to go through the information contained in the plan with your child/children.

We look forward to welcoming all of our pupils back to school. I have no doubt that with everyone’s help and cooperation we will be able to make the plan work for our school for the safety of the entire school community.

This document was reviewed and ratified by the Board of Management of St. Patrick’s NS on 19/08/2020