School Tour FAQ’s

Covid 19 Risk Assessment and Control Measures

Introduction

With all our policies below, we are adhering to the most up to date guidelines and best practices as they become available.

The following documents have been referenced while compiling our policies and procedures in relation to Covid-19:

  • Covid-19 Response Plan for Post Primary Schools
  • Framework to maintain physical distancing in the classroom in post primary schools
  • Practical steps for the deployment of good ventilation practices in schools
  • Return to school guidance for practical subjects in post primary schools and centres for education

The documents listed above are all available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7acad-reopening-our-post-primary-schools/#covid-19-response-plan-for-safe-reopening-of-post-primary-schools

While we will do all that we can to maintain social distancing during the courses, there is an understanding that all students must assume personal responsibility to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

We will be strictly operating following the guidelines of the Department of Education and Skills for the safe and sustainable reopening of Post Primary Schools.

As we cannot completely guarantee that students will adhere to social distancing even though we will be striving to enforce it, we will operate using a 'Pod' system.

Please note that if a student has an underlying health condition or is vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 then we recommend that you do not book them on a Coláiste UISCE school tour.

A GP Assessment form and/or indemnity may be required in this instance.

As UISCE is the only Irish Sailing  approved activity centre ‘as Gaeilge’ we are in close contact with this governing body and we receive all current relevant updates on the sporting activities we offer in relation to Covid-19 best practice.

Our policies are based on the guidelines outlined in the following documents:

https://www.sportireland.ie/sites/default/files/media/document/2020-06/covid-19-return-to-playsports-for-children.pdf

https://www.sailing.ie/Coronavirus/FAQ

https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Tusla_Guidance_Document_for_Early_Years_Services_(Versi on_1_5th_June).pdf

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

This is a working document and will be subject to review and change as more information becomes available.

Prior to school tour
  • We have appointed a Covid-19 compliance officer and deputy to ensure that all staff and students are adhering to the policies and procedures in place.
  • A Covid-19 response plan, including a response team, are in place should there be a suspected and/or confirmed case.
  • Parents must accept the terms and conditions as well as complete a Covid-19 self-declaration in order to be accepted onto a course.
  • If your child is feeling at all unwell or has been in contact with anyone who has Covid-19 or has had Covid-19 in the last 14 days, then we please ask you to refrain from attending at Coláiste UISCE.A declaration form must be completed 3-5 days before the start of the course with Covid-19 related questions.
  • Each activity group (Pod) will be limited to 12 students per group. Members of each Pod will be expected to maintain social distancing when ever possible.  Different Pods will be kept separate from each other throughout the UISCE school tour.
  • All staff will receive Covid-19 training before students arrive on site.  Our policies will be constantly reviewed and updated as new guidelines become available, and additional training will take place when required. This will include personal Covid-19 safety for staff and guests.
  • All activities will be set up to minimise contact between staff and groups, any interactions will be minimal, and our staff will have face coverings, which they will put on before coming within the 2m social distance. There is a joint understanding that everyone must play their part to help abide by these procedures.
  • Cleaning and hygiene procedures have been updated and all very high traffic areas will be cleaned a minimum of twice a day and regular disinfection of activity equipment between sessions will be maintained.
  • We have updated our First Aid procedures to adhere to the latest HSE, Irish Sailing and Irish Surfing guidelines.
  • Courses will be subject to a maximum of 48 students (less than 50% capacity) unless there is an ease in restrictions, at which time all areas of the centre, including activities, will be reassessed. 
Core Principals

Physical Distancing 

  • Where possible, everyone at Coláiste UISCE will maintain 2 metres physical distance. 
  • When this is difficult, everyone will maintain at least 1 metre physical distance. 
  • While indoors, in situations where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, everyone will wear a face covering 

 Respiratory Hygiene 

  • Everyone must follow good respiratory hygiene. 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. 
  • Tissues are provided if necessary and bins are emptied regularly 

Hand Hygiene 

  • Everyone must regularly wash their hands, particularly before and after the use of shared equipment. 
  • During activities that involve the use of shared equipment, care must be taken not to touch your face without having cleaned your hands before doing so. 
  • An additional hand washing area has been installed outside to facilitate handwashing before and after activities. 
  • Where handwashing is impractical, everyone must use hand sanitiser. Hand sanitising stations have been installed in or outside all communal rooms and pods are provided with hand sanitiser that goes with them during all activities 

 Increasing Separation 

  • Pods are kept apart from each other to the extent of which is practical. 
  • Pods are physically separated from each other during mealtimes. 
  • Markings/signage has been installed to encourage physical distancing between individuals. 

 Decreasing Interaction 

  • Our activities team has reviewed all our usual land activities and modified them where possible or necessary to decrease interaction while keeping the enjoyment level as high as possible. 

 Ventilation 

  • As a rule, whenever possible and practical, activities will take place outside. 
  • Where activities take place inside, the rooms will be ventilated as much as practical/possible. 
Groups / Pods

Following the most up to date HSE, Dept. Of Education and Irish Sailing guidelines UISCE School Tours will be using the ‘Pod’ grouping system.

  • Maximum of 48 students per course. (Less than 50% capacity) 
  • Each school group will be broken into Pods of up to 12 members. 
  • Members of a pod are expected to maintain at least 1m physical distance with members of their own pod. 
  • Each pod will be kept separate from other pods, including staff pods, wherever possible. 
  • Pods will be grouped together based upon the current class structure of each school group. 
  • Each pod will have a designated area for meals, areas for drying wetgear and clothes. 
  • Pods will be kept separate from one another through timetabling, zoning and strict supervision.  
  • All students will go through an induction training session upon arrival, outlining all of the procedures and policies put in place. 

Social distancing may have to be broken in exceptional circumstances (i.e. for safety purposes) In this case PPE will be worn by staff members.  

UISCE will operate as a controlled environment at certain times (e.g. mealtimes and during specific indoor activities) 

For all other activities students will remain with their pod and be kept separate from all other pods. Indoor activities that do not take place in a controlled environment will take place in groups of 6 in line with the current government guidelines. 

Foireann UISCE
  • All staff have undergone Covid-19 return to work training.
  • All staff will be temperature checked before the start of their shift.
  • Staff have received updated First Aid training including the correct use of PPE and techniques related to COVID-19. All First Aid kits will include additional PPE such as masks, gloves, disinfectant, safety goggles and Ball Valve Masks.
  • They will also have been trained up and practiced in the updated Covid-19 policies for instructing.
  • Hand washing stations will be provided throughout the centre and at other high traffic areas sanitiser will be available.
  • Staff are instructed not to shake hands with any guests and to maintain distance unless they need to approach a student for a safety issue.
  • If they do have to approach a student, staff will wear PPE with strict adherence to their correct use.
Face Coverings
  • Face Coverings are to be worn by students, teachers and staff whenever it is difficult to maintain 2 metres social distancing in indoor settings. 
  • All students will be required to bring several face coverings with them on their UISCE School Tour.
During the Course
  • Students will be assigned a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet on arrival and keep them for the duration of the school tour. Students will shower in their rooms. 
  • All students will be required to wash their hands upon arrival and at various times during their stay to ensure good hygiene safety. 
  • Hand sanitiser will be readily available for the students use throughout the centre and UISCE grounds including the start and end of each activity. 
  • Temperature checks for staff will take place before their work shift to ensure maximum safety for both students and staff.  
Do not attend or visit the centre
  • If you currently have Covid-19 or if you have been displaying symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 14 days.
  • If you live in the same household or have been in close contact with someone who has displayed symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 14 days If you have been advised to self-isolate at this time.
  • If you have traveled abroad in the last 14 days - (dependent on government travel advice with regards to self-isolation).
  • If you have an underlying health condition or are vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 (see HSE guidelines https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/923825-guidance-on-cocooning-to-protectpeople-over-70-years-and-those-extr/
Communal Areas
  • Thorough and frequent cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and touch points will be carried out twice daily
  • The top 10 high touch areas throughout the centres including light switches and door handles will receive extra disinfection throughout the day
  • We have rearranged furniture and seating throughout communal areas in order ensure proper social distancing
  • Hand sanitiser will be readily available in all communal areas of the centre including the activity rooms
  • Signage will remain in place throughout our centre to remind our students and staff to maintain proper social distancing and practice frequent handwashing and hand sanitation
  • Signage and floor markings will also be in place to ensure our one-way system is clear and easy to follow
  • Doorways will be left open where possible to reduce contact
Changing Facilities
  • Students will receive their class timetable on the first night during the induction and will know exactly when to be prepared for the various activities offered
  • For water activities students are advised to come ready to go as much as possible from their rooms and will remain in their pods for changing into wetsuits
  • Students are to use their own shower in their bedrooms at the end of the day.
  • Students must clean hands before and after every meal and activity and/or use hand sanitiser
  • If you wish to bring your own wetsuit, a full-length wetsuit with a minimum of 3mm thickness will be required
  • Please note that showers will not be available for day trips.
Accommodation
  • Our accommodation policy is based upon guidelines from Fáilte Ireland, the HSE and the WHO
  • Accommodation is divided by gender
  • Rooms will be allocated to students from the same Pod
  • Comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting of all students' bedrooms and bathrooms will be insured prior to their arrival
  • Extra attention will be given to all touch points throughout the rooms
  • Non-essential items will be removed from our bedrooms so we can ensure the highest levels of cleanliness
  • All our linens will be handled with extreme care to prevent potential contamination
  • Beds are spaced to maintained 2m physical distance between all students
Dining
  • Our dining hall will be laid out to ensure at least 1m physical distancing is maintained between all students.
  • All foods will be served from behind a Perspex shield.
  • Condiments will be given upon request from behind the Perspex shield.
  • Any hot liquids such as soup and tea along with water will be served by a member of staff wearing PPE. Students must bring their own water bottle).
  • Cutlery will be laid out prior to eating on each table by a member of staff wearing PPE. Each Pod will have an assigned eating area for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Supper for the duration of their stay.
Covid 19 Response Plan (Suspected case of COVID-19)
  • We have developed a COVID-19 response plan following the guidelines of the HSE, Department of Education and Fáilte Ireland. All our staff are trained in the correct procedure for dealing with a suspected case
  • If anyone on the UISCE site is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, a member of staff will bring them to one of our self-isolation rooms following strict social distancing and wearing PPE, and our COVID-19 Compliance Officer will be contacted immediately.
  • The COVID-19 Compliance officer will record all symptoms and consult the local GP for directions.
  • The parents of any child displaying symptoms will be contacted as soon as possible.

NOTE: On-site temperature taking is not recommended because fever is not a consistent symptom of COVID-19 in children

1) If your child is displaying symptoms:

  • We will contact you immediately after they have been brought to a self-isolation room
  • We will contact our local GP and inform them of the symptoms and follow their advice
  • If the GP decides that your child is a suspect case of COVID-19 you must come to UISCE and bring your child home as soon as possible so that they can self-isolate
  • While waiting for your arrival, we will regularly check in on your child to ensure their comfort and check on their symptoms
  • Your child will have a phone available to them at all times in self-isolation so that they may contact you or our staff at any time

2) If a member of your child’s Pod displays symptoms:

  • We will contact you once the response plan has been carried out and our local GP informs us of their decision and the further action steps required

3) If a child who is not a member of your child’s Pod displays symptoms:

  • We will contact you once the response plan has been carried out and our local GP informs us of their decision and the further action steps required
  • Your child is not a close contact of the suspected case and there is no reason for them to self-isolate

NB: This is a working document and will be subject to review and change as more information becomes available from the HSE and the Dept of Education.

Fogging

As part of our Covid 19 risk assessment and control measures, UISCE has purchased a disinfectant fogger.  This is used to ensure a regular and comprehensive disinfecting routine for all bedrooms and shared spaces.

During the course all shared spaces and minibuses are disinfected daily using the fogger.

All bedrooms are disinfected using the fogger in between courses.

What happens if the tour is cancelled?

Full refund should the trip have to be cancelled minus a €50 admin fee.

School Tour Parent / Teacher Information

What is the Covid-19 safety charter that Coláiste UISCE have been awarded?

The COVID-19 Safety Charter is a Government-endorsed initiative that recognises that UISCE is following the latest Fáilte Ireland Guidelines and that all of our staff have received training specific to Covid-19 safety measures.

Can my child attend an UISCE school tour if he/she has a medical condition? 

If your child's medical condition falls into either the very high risk (also called extremely vulnerable) or high risk group as defined by the HSE, we are recommending that they do not attend an UISCE school tour. If your child falls into either of these categories and still wishes to attend an UISCE school tour, they may do so provided that their parent/guardian gets a signed GP assessment form or signs an indemnity form. 

For the HSE definition of these groups and advice please go to: 

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/people-at-higher-risk.html 

What is meant by very high risk and high risk? 

The HSE has defined medical conditions which fall into very high risk and high risk categories on their website at the following link:  

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/people-at-higher-risk.html 

Currently UISCE recommends that people who fall into the groups of very high risk or high risk do not attend an UISCE school tour. 

Can my child attend if he/she has asthma? 

Based on the current information from the HSE website, asthma is listed under the high risk group.   

UISCE recommends that students with asthma do not attend an UISCE school tour. We will be continually monitoring the HSE website for guidance on this issue. 

If your child has asthma and still wishes to attend an UISCE school tour, they may do so provided that their parent/guardian gets a signed GP assessment form or signs an indemnity form. 

Why is UISCE recommending that anybody who is defined as being in the high risk from coronavirus group does not attend a an UISCE school tour? 

The HSE recommends that those in the high risk group follow the advice on how to protect yourself from coronavirus: 

…You should: 

  • keep a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people 
  • avoid communal sleeping areas 
  • avoid any crowded places 
  • not shake hands or make close contact with other people, if possible 

 For full details of the HSE advice to those in the high risk group please go to the following link: 

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/protect-yourself-and-others.html 

Given the structure of our UISCE school tours and our decision to use a ‘Pod’ system, it would be extremely difficult to abide by all of these guidelines for those in the high risk group. We believe that it is imperative to the safety of children who fall into this group that we do not expose them to unnecessary risk by allowing them to attend an UISCE school tour. 

If your child falls into the high risk category and still wishes to attend an UISCE school tour, they may do so provided that their parent/guardian gets a signed GP assessment form or signs an indemnity form. 

Why is UISCE recommending that anybody who is defined as being in the very high risk from coronavirus group does not attend a an UISCE school tour? 

The HSE recommends that those in the very high risk group should cocoon: 

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Wear a face covering when you meet with anyone indoors - ask them to also wear a face covering, if they cannot maintain a 2 metre distance
  • Do not attend gatherings where you can't keep 2 metres apart from other people
  • Ideally, choose a small social group and try to limit your meetings to these same 6 people. This will help to reduce your risk of getting coronavirus

For full details of the HSE advice to those in the very high risk group please go to the following link: 

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/cocooning.html 

Given the structure of UISCE school tours and our decision to use a ‘Pod’ system, it would be extremely difficult to abide by all of these guidelines for those in the very high risk group. We believe that it is imperative to the safety of children who fall into this group that we do not expose them to unnecessary risk by allowing them to attend an UISCE school tour. 

If your child falls into the very high risk category and still wishes to attend an UISCE school tour, they may do so provided that their parent/guardian gets a signed GP assessment form or signs an indemnity form. 

What is a ‘Pod’? 

A ‘pod’ is a group of two or more household units involved in an activity together where social distancing may not be possible. During an UISCE school tour, pods will be kept to a maximum of 12 students. Our Pod system has been created following the latest guidelines from the HSE, Dept of Education and Irish Sailing. 

  • Each Pod shares rooms with members of their own Pod 
  • Members of a Pod are expected to socially distance with other members of their own pod whenever possible 
  • Members of a Pod must socially distance with members of other Pods, including members of staff
  • Each Pod has designated area for meals 
  • Each Pod has designated areas drying wetgear, clothes, toilets and changing facilities. 
  • Pods will be kept separate from one another through timetabling, zoning, and strict supervision.  
  • All students will go through an induction training session on the first night outlining the Pod system and the associated procedures and policies that have put in place. 
  • Social distancing may have to be broken in exceptional circumstances (i.e. for safety purposes) 
  • In line with the latest government guidelines, indoor activities are restricted to groups of 6. All indoor activities will operate in groups of 6, except for activities that take place in a controlled environment. 
Why Pods? 

The Pod system: 

  • Significantly reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 during an UISCE school tour 
  • Aids the HSE in contact tracing should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 during an UISCE school tour 
What are the accommodation arrangements during an UISCE school tour? 

For Accommodation we are following the recommendations from Fáilte Ireland and using these to create a safe environment  

  • Rooms will be allocated to students from the same Pod 
  • All beds have been arranged in a layout that either maintains 2 metres physical distance between students or maintains at least 1 metre physical distance and a physical barrier between students. 
  • Students are not allowed to alter the physical layout of their bedrooms. 
  • Accommodation is divided by gender. 
Why isn’t temperature testing being carried out on students? 

According to the following document published by the HSE: 

https://www.education.ie/en/covid-19/interim-recommendations-for-the-reopening-of-schools-and-educational-facilities.pdf 

On-site temperature taking is not recommended because fever is not a consistent symptom of COVID-19 in children and would result in delayed school entry. Parents and/or educational settings do not need to take children’s temperatures every morning. 

UISCE school tours are structured similarly to a school and therefore we are following the guidelines of the HSE regarding schools.  

What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 during an UISCE school tour ?

We have developed a COVID-19 response plan following the guidelines of the HSE, Department of Education and Fáilte Ireland. All our staff are trained in the correct procedure for dealing with a suspected case.  

  • If anyone on the UISCE site is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, a member of staff will bring them to one of our self-isolation rooms following strict social distancing and wearing PPE, and our COVID-19 Compliance Officer will be contacted immediately.  
  • The COVID-19 Compliance officer will record all symptoms and consult the local GP for directions.  
  • The parents of any child displaying symptoms will be contacted as soon as possible.  

NOTE: On-site temperature taking is not recommended because fever is not a consistent symptom of COVID-19 in children 

1) If  your child is displaying symptoms:  

  • We will contact you immediately after they have been brought to a self-isolation room  
  • We will contact our local GP and inform them of the symptoms and follow their advice   
  • If the GP decides that your child is a suspect case of COVID-19 you must come to UISCE and bring your child home as soon as possible 
  • While waiting for your arrival, we will regularly check in on your child to ensure their comfort and check on their symptoms 
  • Your child will have a phone available to them at all times in self-isolation so that they may contact you or our staff at any time   

2) If a member of your child’s Pod displays symptoms:    

  • We will contact you once the response plan has been carried out and our local GP informs us of their decision and the further action steps required  

3) If a child who is not a member of your child’s Pod displays symptoms:    

  • We will contact you once the response plan has been carried out and our local GP informs us of their decision and the further action steps required  
  • Your child is not a close contact of the suspected case and there is no reason for them to self-isolate  
What is the typical timetable? 

Turas Thar Oíche/Overnight Trip 

08:30 – 09:30 Bricfeasta / Breakfast
09:30 – 13:00 Eachtraí / Activities
13:00 – 14:00 Lón / Lunch
14:00 – 17:30 Eachtraí / Activities
17:45 – 18:15 Dinnéar / Dinner
18:15 – 19:30 Am saor & gúthaán / Free time & phones
19:30 – 21:30 Eachtraí Oíche
21:30 – 22:00 Suppéar / Supper
22:00 Seomraí / Rooms

Turas Lae/Day Trip 

09:30 – 13:00 Eachtraí / Activities
13:00 – 14:00 Lón / Lunch
14:00 – 17:30 Eachtraí / Activities
Will Coláiste UISCE be enforcing social distancing? 

UISCE will be enforcing social distancing in line with the latest government guidelines. 

While we will do all that we can to maintain social distancing during the courses, there is an understanding that all students must assume personal responsibility to adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

What watersports do UISCE offer? 

Typical school tours include the following activities: 

  • Seoltóireacht/Sailing 
  • Clarsheoltóireracht/Windsurfing 
  • Tonnmharcaíocht/Surfing 
  • Clár Coirp/Bodyboarding 
  • Léimt ón Cé/Pier Jumping 
  • Caigheacáil/Kayaking 
  • Tógáil Raift/Raft Building 

 All activities are weather dependent and will be run based on the judgment of our Senior Instructors. 

What is UISCE’s mobile phone policy? 

At Coláiste UISCE, we realise that mobile phones are now a part of normal teenage life and are an important tool for keeping in touch with home. Students are permitted to bring their phones on their UISCE school tour. However, in accordance with our child protection policy, phones will be taken up on arrival and given out for a set period in the evenings in the common areas only, where internet can also be provided during that time. Mobile phones are not permitted in bedrooms or in the changing rooms. Student’s found with devices in their rooms face disciplinary action. We hope for the teachers’ cooperation with this policy. All recording devices fall into the same category.  

Each year I came home bursting with self confidence, amazing memories, heaps of new friends and of course a WHOLE new outlook grasp on the Irish language.

Aaron Kelly