Covid-19 Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment

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This is a Working Document. It is subject to change – as the situation and guidelines from the HSE and DES change to accommodate this.

Risk Assessment carried out by Principal, Deputy Principal & ISM under the direction of the BOM as follows:

  1. Date: 20th August 2020 before the schools reopened for the school year 2020-21
  2. Updated September 2020, once school was up and running and staff could see what needed to be added
  3. Updated February 2021 before the phased return to school beginning 1st March
  4. Updated August 2021 to plan for the school year 2021-22
  5. Updated on 31/11/21to include mask wearing for children in 3rd – 6th class
  6. Updated on 29/09/22 for school year 2022-2023
  7. Updated on the 26/09/2023 for school year 2023 -2024
High Risks (H) need immediate action.
Medium Risks (M) should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Low Risk (L) actions should be dealt with as soon as practicable.
Who is responsible for minimisation of risk?
All staff, teaching and auxiliary: secretaries and caretaker, the principal and deputy, Lead worker representatives (LWRs) and their assistants, postholders, parents, guardians and students under the direction of the BOM and Principal co-operate to ensure the minimisation of risk.

The LWR is Claire Madden. The Assistant LWR is Clara Bourke & HSCL officer is Claire Scott .


(Initially identified as high, medium, low)

Controls/To do list.

Risks reduced as controls put in place.

Tick when control in place.

1.0  COVID-19

School Covid19 Response Plan in place in line with the specific requirements of Scoil Iosef Naofa, Department of Education guidance, the Return to Work Safely Protocol and public health advice.

UPDATE: Arrangements made to keep up to date with public health advice, changes to and Department of Education updates

Arrangements made to pass on this information in a timely manner to staff, pupils, parents and others as required

Follow public health guidance from HSE re hygiene and respiratory etiquette

Complete School COVID-19 Policy Statement

Return to Work Forms received and reviewed

UPDATE: Induction Training provided for new staff ensuring they ensure they have full knowledge and understanding of the following:

·       Latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health;

·       Covid-19 symptoms;

·       What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms of Covid-19 while at school;

·       Outline of the Covid-19 response plan.

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 LWRs or Assistant LWRs.

Contact log in place

Complete checklists as required:

1.School Management

2.How to deal with a suspected case

Parents will need to be asked if their child is unwell to keep them at home. It will need to be stressed how important it is not to send a child who is unwell to school. (Aladdin, text, email)

UPDATE: 24th February 2021: Parents of children returning in this phase will be asked by the school to complete the declaration form. This form is to be used when children are returning to the setting after any absence.

Where a child appears to be unwell in school (coughing, sneezing, high temperature): they will be brought to the isolation room by the designated person (Ms Sherlock/Mr Hayes),  parent will be contacted by phone to collect them. The child will be collected from the front door by the school office.

Staff and pupils with underlying medical conditions: their circumstances taken into account.

Protocol arriving and leaving. Sanitation stations/hand washing. Every classroom, corridors, entrances

Ensure signage and visual reminders are in place e.g. re hand washing, cough etiquette and social distancing as needed. Information on Aladdin, text, website)

Teachers to remind and reinforce the concept of physical distancing where required. Staff will need to be using the same language.





UPDATE: Ensure parents and staff are familiar with the symptoms of the Delta Variant and proceed with the precautions as for the initial variant e.g. parents not sending children to school when they display symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19 (Information correct as of 23rd August 2021)

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to know and recognise the symptoms of coronavirus (which includes the DELTA variant).

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above).
  • a new cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry.
  • shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
  • loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and Pains

Other uncommon symptoms of coronavirus include:

·       sore throat

·       headaches

·       runny or stuffy noses

·       feeling sick or vomiting

·       diarrhoea

Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can cause illness, ranging from mild to severe, and, in some cases, can be fatal. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. They can be similar to symptoms of cold and flu.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus), self-isolate (stay in your room) and phone your family doctor straight away to see if you need a free COVID-19 test.

Getting an early diagnosis means, you can get the help you need and take steps to avoid spreading the virus, if you have it.

For the complete list of symptoms, please refer to the HSE Website. Symptoms may be subject to change so regular review of the HSE Website is advised. If you do not have symptoms, you can get a free COVID-19 (coronavirus) test at a COVID-19 walk-in test centre.

This is a significant new risk since June 2021 and will need attention and  vigilance.

1.1 Covid airborne spread

UPDATE: Ventilation: Guidance from the DES, 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. The Department has also published guidance regarding on how these practical steps measures can be supplemented and enhanced by the use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors. Links to all aforementioned guidance can be accessed here.

Windows and doors will be kept open to allow for good air circulation: UPDATE from DES says these should be open wide at break times – and less so when students and staff in class, to allow for comfort.

The introduction of CO2 monitors is another significant change since June 2021 and so will need attention.

1.2 Need for guidelines for children repeatedly breaking social distancing rules (deliberately or not) and not observing Covid protocols

1.2a Guidelines in case parents would not adhere to social distancing advice and not observing Covid protocols

There will be a zero tolerance policy approach to any child who might threaten to cough or spit on another child or on a member of staff.

We are reliant on the goodwill and co-operation of all parents.

Being prepared in case a child or parent is not co-operative is a matter for the Board to consider.


1.3 Are any students or staff in the vulnerable category? Or do they have relatives with underlying health problems at home? How do we reduce their risk?

1.3a What about teachers living in households with those on the front line? How do we reduce the risk they could bring virus into school?

1.3b Staff and pupils with underlying medical conditions or staff who may be pregnant.

The student in this category has access to an SNA. She is taking extra precautions re hygiene requirements.

Staff take precautions in order to minimize transfer

Following HSE and DES recommendations.

2.0 Arriving and Leaving School

2.1 That there be too many children & adults to enable social distancing outside school gates/in school yard?


Different entry and exit points and times to avoid congestion. No parents allowed in the yard at drop off and collection times.

Parents will be asked not to congregate at the gates to talk to other parents.

UPDATE from Framework for re-opening schools 23rd February 2021: Parent communications from the school should emphasise that there should be no congregation outside schools during this interim phase or at any stage, and that staff engagement should be requested through the school and will be provided by telephone or online.



2.2 Congestion in school yard at arrival and at home time

Drop Off

·       Children from 1st to 6th  go straight to the back yard (designated court space for each group) in the morning. 5th & 6th class enter school @ 9.10am.

·       Junior Infants and Senior Infants only in front yard. Enter school at 9.10am.

·       Mr Meade & Mr Hayes to supervise senior yard carpark & entry into the yard by the back gate.

·       Mr Hogan to supervise front door gate.

Update: all children enter & leave school at same time, 9.20an and 2/3pm


6th class children exit school grounds through back gate at 2.50pm.

Junior and Senior Infants are collected from the front yard at 1.50pm.

1st, 2nd & 3rd Class leave building at 3pm by Ms Mahon’s room.

3rd (2) leave by front door at 3pm.

4th class leave by Ms Mc Mahon’s door at 3pm.

5th class to exit school by Ms Mc Manus room at 2.50pm

All classes staggered leaving the school.

Update: all children enter & leave school at same time, 9.20an and 2/3pm


2.3 Children returning from other countries outside the ‘green’ list.

Need for a request to parents to observe health advice: quarantining for 14 days before a return to school after coming back from abroad from areas outside the ‘green’ list.

All parents asked to complete a declaration (on the date of return) stating that to the best of their knowledge their children have no symptoms of Covid-19, are not in self isolation or awaiting the outcome of a test;

2.4 What about children arriving by public transport. Do we have advice for them? Promote walking and cycling

Advice for parents if they have no alternative to Public Transport

• Not to use public transport if they are displaying symptoms.

• To maintain physical distancing while waiting for transport.

• To always sit in designated seating

• To use hand sanitizer on boarding the bus.

• To observe respiratory etiquette at all times while waiting for and on-board transport services.

• To disembark the bus one by one in an orderly fashion; and

•To wear a face mask or covering unless there is a medical or special needs reason for not wearing one.


2.5 What are the concerns for children from different families carpooling?

If car pooling necessary parents will need to take precautions: good ventilation, low numbers, cleaning

2.6 Do parents accompany JI into their classroom on the first day?

Junior Infants to be dropped at gate. Teachers will be waiting to greet them.
3.0 School grounds & buildings

3.1 Limiting those at entrance doors and visitors to the school

Minimising footfall:

Number of people visiting school building strictly limited. Visitors to wear masks.

Update: Mask wearing no longer in place

Parents collecting children early: signing them in an out.

Martina will sign them out

Strict limits on visitors from outside

TY Work Experience students: TY co-ordinators in secondary schools will be reviewing nature of a students’ work experience in the light of Covid protocols. No TY students scheduled in first term. A number scheduled at intervals from February, however taking the students will be reviewed closer to the time and will depend of levels of Covid at that point.


3.2 Are children allowed to leave the premises during the day for appointments and then return to school on the same day?

Children must wash/sanitise their hands on their return

3.3 Congestion on corridors and on stairs.

All children walk on left and enter and exit at staggered times

3.4 Congestion affecting social distancing in school yard and school lobbies

School grounds and building marked to encourage social – tape and floor signage.

Update: New flooring September 2022 – new signs to be added

Smaller class groups for Junior Infants

New floor signs added throughout whole school Sept 2023


3.5 Congestion affecting social distancing in classroom.

No social distancing Infants to 2nd.

One metre social distance from 3rd to 6th class

Learning Support & SNAs may need flexibility in their roles to assist instruction & supervision.

Rooms decluttered – lockers built in all classes for children’s individual filing.

Excess equipment to be stored in built in units

Update: Social distancing no longer in place


3.6 Principal’s Office/ meetings with parents

Limited numbers of meetings and time limited. Windows open for good ventilation. Masks worn.

Update: Mask wearing no longer in place

Mr Hogan’s room now used for meetings since air purifier installed.

Update: Ms Scott’s room (Sept 2022)


3.7 Parent Teacher Meetings

As 2020-21 e.g. phone calls if level of Covid at this time means this is necessary.

3.8 Extra Curricular Activities

Limited to those that can be conducted safely

2021 – Ourdoor only for term 1

Update: All extra curricular activities return to normal

4.0 The School Day – Children

4.1 Safety of classroom equipment in terms of hygiene.

4.2 Sharing of toys and equipment used (particularly with Infants and maths resources)

Additional cleaning dedicated to cleaning toys and manipulatives in Infant classrooms. Aistear reduced to every second week to allow for isolation of toys.

4.3 Can group work in all classrooms continue as it involves working in confined spaces, often sharing equipment?


INTO advised: Teachers will need to utilise their professional discretion to adapt the curriculum to meet the educational needs of their pupils. All pupils will require additional support in the area of well-being and SPHE. Some other curricular areas may need additional time on returning to school.

All group work to take place in pods.

There may be a need for ‘distance learning’ for children with underlying conditions.

Teachers will need to have a Plan B ready in case of a pod/class being sent home or local closure.

Update: Pods no longer in place


4.4 There is evidence that loud singing and choral singing could spread the virus

This would have implications for the playing of recorder and tin whistle too.



Teachers taking this into account and adapting their teaching accordingly.

UPDATE from the DES: 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.


4.5 Physical Education

PE will continue to need to be non contact in so far as is possible – but it is important for morale and well being.

Sports equipment limited in use and sanitized between uses.

UPDATE from DES ‘Schools should refer to the HPSC guidance on Return to Sport. Link to return to sport protocols is found here.


4.6 First Aid procedures.

First Aid supplied at back door, staff room and Mr Meade’s room.

Teachers will wear face coverings and gloves when doing First Aid.

Update: Mask wearing no longer in place


4.7 Fire Drills

New exit routes for classes (see Fire Procedure in all classrooms)
5.0 Hygiene and cleaning – HIGH RISK
5.1 Protocols for cleaning are in the DES Return to School Roadmap

Deep Clean to be conducted prior to return to school

Cleaning hours to be increased to 22 ½ hours a week (Amanda Fairbrother)


5.2 What cleaning regime will be in place in each classroom?


Staff to keep their own work areas clean.

Cleaning of surfaces, door handles and other high touch areas such as light switches, keyboards will be done by the class teachers

Extra resources required – cleaning supplies, hazard tape, PPE, posters, signage.


5.3 Handwashing

The children will have to wash their hands after arriving in school, after using the toilet, before eating, after eating, after coughing, sneezing, before and after PE, before leaving school
5.4 Trying to help children avoid dry, sore hands by teaching how to wash their hands carefully.  Regular hand washing can be hard on the hands especially in children where the skin is thinner and more sensitive than in adults. Here are 5 things that can help:
1.Use liquid soap with neutral pH value
2.Get your hands wet before you put soap on
3.Rinse and wipe your hands thoroughly after washing
4.Put your hands into a light moisturizer after washing your hands
5.and a richer one again at bedtime’.
5.6 Do teachers wear gloves? Roadmap says no need for teachers to wear gloves as virus does not penetrate skin.
5.7 Correct use of face masks. All adults in school are to wears masks or visors. Masks are preferable as they offer greater protection.

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.

Staff should practise the proper use, donning/doffing, cleaning, storing and disposal of PPE.  

The DES say ‘It is not recommended that children attending primary school wear face-coverings’. However if a child opts to wear one on account of a vulnerable family member this is quite acceptable


Children from 3rd – 6th to wear face coverings in school

Update: No face coverings in school


5.8 Children’s work spaces

Limit what children keep on their desks

No sharing of crayons, pencils stationery.

Children may have limited access to toys/books/manipulatives within their own group

Children have their own supply

They will not be able to share as freely as they have in previous years.


5.9 Homework: Books coming in from home and returning there for homework, perhaps carrying infection

5.10 Teachers handling copies and books belonging to children when correcting children’s work

Homework is now sent home via Seesaw for children in Infants 1 1st class

Older children can self-correct where possible


5.11 Shared use of laptops and ipads

Use of laptops, ipads will require vigilance in terms of keeping clean.

The Class teacher must ensure that all the devices are cleaned down at the end of the lesson


5.12 How to minimize transfer of virus between staff members?

How will staff breaks be organised to ensure social distancing.

Staff room has been set up with provision for 2m social distancing.

All staff are to wear face coverings

Pods on the staff – class level & SEN teacher attached

What is the protocol for short term substitute teachers so it is safe to have them visiting.- Sub teachers must complete a version of the  RTW form

Air-purifier installed in hall where staff have lunch

Update: Social distancing no longer in place

6.0 Special Needs Provision


How many children can safely fit into a SET room with social distancing required?
How are teachers allocated caseloads to ensure there is as little potential cross-contamination between year groups?
Should support teachers go from class group to class group if groups are in different classes? In Scoil Iosef Naofa teachers are usually allocated to a particular class level however there is some flexibility.
Will timetables need to be changed to allow for teacher cleaning between sessions with groups?
Will SET be permitted to be used to make class sizes smaller during this time?
Will there be any changes in the way SET deployed
Will there be any changes in the way SNAs are deployed?
This has been calculated and SET operate accordingly

As far as is possible each SET is allocated a class level to minimize risk.

There is no mixing in SET of children from different classes within a level as far as is possible

Time spent with children slightly reduced on account of time spent cleaning chairs and desks

More individual and pair work. As far as is possible children from the same pod work together.

As far as is possible SET work with one class level. The flexibility that was possible in other years is not advisable in current circumstances.

As far as is possible SNAs work with the students they are assigned to in one class. Where SNAs take children for movement breaks, it is for a short time and outdoors. SNAs wear face coverings.

Update: No pods or face coverings in place

Risk Assessment carried out by: ______________________________________________________________________________________ Date: _________