O'Connell Secondary School



To minimize the risk of introduction and/or spread of Covid-19 through:

  • Knowing 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: By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and safely into a nearby bin.
  • Hand hygiene: Hand hygiene can be achieved by hand washing or the use of a hand sanitizer (when hands look clean). Students should perform hand hygiene: on arrival at school, before eating or drinking, after using the toilet, after playing outdoors, when their hands are physically dirty when they cough or sneeze.
  • Physical distancing: This falls into two categories – increasing separation / decreasing interaction. A number of measures are being put in place to support physical distancing. These are further explained in the attached document.
  • Environmental hygiene: awareness, use of PPE, appropriate signage, regular cleaning, etc are all further explained in the attached document.

Absentees: Please contact the office to let us know if your son will not be returning to school for whatever reason.

Access to school: All students will access the school through the side entrance.

Appointments: All access to the school for non-students or parents/guardians will be strictly by appointment only. Visitors will only have access to the school if it is on essential business. Meetings with parents will be facilitated by phone or on-line. Appointments may be made through the relevant Year Head. In-person meetings will be strictly limited. Any visitors granted access to the school (including parents/guardians who are signing-out students) will have to apply hand sanitizer, complete the Contact Tracing Log (Response Plan, Appendix 5), wear a mask, and maintain a 2m distance from the staff of the school.

Awareness: First and foremost, everyone needs to help in creating awareness around this situation. Staff, students and parents need to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school.

Base classes: To restrict movement students will be assigned to a base classroom.

Canteen: Morning breaks Each year will be assigned a designated area at this time. Students may bring their own snacks if they so wish. Lunchbreak – the canteen will provide a limited ‘grab-and-go service at lunchtimes.

Classrooms / Shared resources: Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer will be available in all rooms. Students will be asked to assist with the wipe-down of shared resources such as computer keyboards and laptops after use as well as desks and chairs. Equipment used during certain classes (sciences, Art, woodwork, etc) will also require wiping-down. The majority of classrooms exceed the required 49 sq m which allows us to comfortably comply with Department Guidelines of a maximum of 24 students. We are fortunate that very few of our classes have between 20-24students. Our larger rooms can cater to these groups.

Cleaning: All rooms in the school have been deep cleaned. A strict and regular cleaning regime has been arranged and will be operated by our dedicated cleaning staff.

Communication: The school will keep parents/guardians informed of updates via text, letters, Twitter, and the school website www.oconnellschool.ie Communication with students via Microsoft Teams will continue. In the event that a student needs to contact home, they may request to call home at reception.

Drop off / Collection: Walking/cycling to school should be encouraged where possible. Parents/guardians who drive their children to school are requested not to delay on the premises. The less congestion in the car park, the better for all. Students are asked to arrive on time for school.

Face coverings: In line with the guidance issued on the 7th August ‘it is now recommended that teachers and secondary school students wear face coverings, similar to those worn in shops or on public transport, where a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.’ The wearing of a face covering comes with the responsibility of appropriate disposal if using a disposable face mask or the daily washing if using a reusable facemask. Face masks should be stored in zip lock bags and are not to be placed on any surfaces or shared between students. The school will provide reusable face masks (one per student) to any child who requires one. Parents/guardians/visitors must wear a face mask when entering the building.

Feeling unwell at home: Please keep your son at home if they feel unwell and continuing to encourage the key measures to keep us all safe. Keep the school informed of progress in this regard.

Feeling unwell in school: Isolation rooms have been established around the school for any Covid-19 suspected cases. Please note: now more than ever, when a student presents to the office if they are unwell and the office contacts home, it is extremely important that arrangements are made to collect the student WITHOUT DELAY. If a Parent/Guardian cannot accept calls at work, we need to know this and we need to have an alternative contact number to call. Every student must have two contact details on the system to facilitate this.

Hand hygiene: Hand sanitizers will be available at all points of entry and exit and in all classrooms. Sanitizing wipes will be available in all classrooms to clean frequently touched surfaces throughout the day. It might also be a good idea for students to have their own small bottle of sanitizer in their bags during the school day – a good habit to develop for moving around the community outside school also.

Learning platforms: Teachers will continue to use office 365 Teams to upload classwork, resources, and homework. This will facilitate access to teaching and learning for students who may not be able to return to school or who may have to remain at home if unwell or any members of their household are unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. It will also ensure the continuity of teaching and learning in the event of a localized or national school closure. Students should continue to access Teams on their return to school.

Lockers: Lockers have now been moved inside the base classrooms. Access to the lockers will be limited to minimize transmission.

Corridors & stairs – The wearing of masks is required while moving between classes. Students are asked to keep to the left while using the stairs.All corridors are equipped with sanitizing units. Staggered starts and breaks will ensure the mixing of class groups is kept to a minimum.

PE: In line with current HSE – Back to Sport Guidelines – changing rooms will not be available for students. Additional sanitizer and disinfectant will be available for all equipment after each PE class. Further guidance from the DES is to issue in relation to PE before schools reopen.

Positive behavior: Now, more than ever, we require all students to ‘step up’ and support our school community by modeling positive and responsible behavior which will enable us to manage Covid-19 and prevent its introduction into our school. Students are asked to be particularly aware of the control measures mentioned earlier in this document. Any act that threatens the health & safety of others during the school day will be dealt with using the guidelines detailed in our code of behavior policy. See the website for more details.

Self-isolation: Students (or staff) who have traveled to ‘non-green list countries’ for non-essential travel will be required to isolate for 14 days on their return to Ireland. It is the responsibility of students, parents, and staff to inform the school if they have engaged in non-essential travel to ‘non-green list’ countries prior to the reopening of the school.

Signage: Appropriate signage will be displayed throughout the school alerting the school community to the symptoms of COVID 19 and of the importance of social distancing and maintaining coughing and sneezing etiquette.

Supervision: Extra supervision will be provided under department Circular 0053/2020.

Symptoms of Covid-19: Where a student or member of staff presents in school with symptoms of Covid-19, procedures as set out in the Response Plan, Appendix 7, will be followed.

Toilets: As per the school Code of Positive Behaviour, congregating in the toilets is not allowed. The physical distancing guidelines strongly support this. The toilets should be used only when absolutely necessary. Please observe hand hygiene guidelines when using toilet facilities.

Uniform: Until Public Health informs us otherwise, students are expected to present at school in full school uniform as normal. Items of uniform should be cleaned regularly.

Ventilation: Good ventilation is very important. Where possible it is recommended that windows be left open in all rooms, along with doors where possible. This guarantees good circulation of air which helps to prevent the spread of the virus.

Wellbeing: Our Pastoral Care Team, SEN Team, and Year Heads will be available to support the transition of our students back to school. Social distancing will be adhered to during one-to-one meetings for Guidance and Year Head meetings.

O'Connell Secondary School,
Richmond St N,
Dublin 1

01 874 8307

© 2022 O'Connell Secondary School