Back-to-school guidelines include ‘Pods’, no sharing and physical distancing
01st Jul 2020
The Department of Education has published its health advice for schools – recommending a range of measures including one-metre social distancing for pupils at both primary and post-primary level and ensuring classes stay in Group Bubbles or ‘Pods’
Primary school pupils from third class up and all secondary school students will be required to maintain a distance of at least one metre between each other when schools return, under new guidance issued by the Department of Education on Wednesday.
The recommendation will not be a pre-requisite for younger children in the earlier years of primary education because they are unlikely to maintain it.
And though a distance of one metre is the minimum for second-level students, the guidance recommends that a two-metre distance rule should be applied where possible.
Individual desks will need to be at least one metre apart and teachers should arrange to move from classroom to classroom to avoid students moving in groups.
Students should be encouraged to walk/cycle to school and have staggered arrival times to avoid congregation at the school gate and should also maintain a two-metre distance while on school grounds.
Last month, the Department of Education warned that physical distancing of one metre would result in many classes attending school for just 2-and-a-half days a week.
In a traditional classroom with standard desks, it would mean a distance of one metre between students, and the alternative is to maintain separate “pods” – small numbers of pupils working within groups.
A “pod” refers to a small group within a class, but it also recommends that classes themselves be regarded as “bubbles”, which stay apart from other classes as much as possible.
Each “pod” would maintain a distance from the other at one-metre though pupils within these “pods” would not have to do the same.
Where possible, work-stations should be allocated consistently to the same staff and children rather than having spaces that are shared, the official guidance said.
These new guidelines will be in place from September.
Interim health advice
The interim public health advice (prepared by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre) around re-opening schools runs to 31 pages and covers everything from school drop-off and pick up to handwashing, staggering break times, and the use of classroom equipment.
Newly-appointed Education Minister Norma Foley reiterated the health advice was interim, and what was current now would not be current in two or three weeks time, but it provided a “significant platform for discussion and engagement as to how we will collectively do that.”
You can read the report in full HERE
Read more: Cork school kids brilliantly recreate world-famous artwork from their homes
Read more: ‘Has the Corona gone away?’ – Life must go on. And so my children will go back to school
Read more: Homeschooling hell: ‘I’m under so much pressure and it’s from the mums’ WhatsApp groups’
Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...
This beautifully finished end of terrace on Rathmines Road is on the market for just over the million mark
Built around 1860, the Victorian house for sale in Rathmines has all of the period features you would expect with...
ABGC Architects were enlisted to transform a large white box into a functional living space for two design-minded homeowners. When...
While staying at home and with plenty of time to spare, creative people are turning to their walls as a...
I fear the true fallout of Covid on our cities is just getting started, writes Amanda Cassidy As the pandemic...
You don’t have to love football to have been affected by the tragic scenes at the Finland Denmark game
There were heartbreaking scenes as footballer Christian Eriksen was given CPR at the European Championship game Questions have been raised...
When I was 12 I wrote a story about two girls who were best friends. One girl, the main character,...