Reopening Post Primary Schools | 2020

Until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, each community is going to need support in charting a path to safely and responsibly reopen schools crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.  Your government will be with you every step of the way.

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COVID-19 response plan for safe reopening of post primary schools

A COVID-19 Response Plan is designed to support the staff and Board of Management (BOM)/Education Training Board (ETB) in putting measures in place that aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the school environment.

The COVID-19 Response Plan details the policies and practices necessary for a school to meet the government’s Return to Work Safely Protocol. 

The Department of Education plan for school reopening that will aim to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the school environment.



Supporting Services and Agencies


Safety First

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Planning & Preparing for Safe Return to Post Primary

The Board of Management/Education Training Board aims to facilitate the resumption of school-based teaching and learning and the return to the workplace of staff.

Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19

Staff or pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. The following outlines how a school should deal with a suspected case that may arise in a school setting.

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Hygiene and cleaning in schools

 The Department of Education will provide additional funding to schools to support the enhanced cleaning required to minimise the risks of COVID-19.

Details of the funding supports will be provided to schools by way of circular and will be updated as required. The funding will be provided in advance of reopening.


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Staff Duties


Staff have a statutory obligation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of their colleagues and other parties.

The cooperation and assistance of all staff is essential to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 and to protect health and safety as far as possible within the school. All staff have a key role to play.

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Covid-19 Related Absence Management

The management of a COVID-19 related absence will be managed in line with agreed procedures with the Department of Education.

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Control Measures

One of the key messages to manage the risks of COVID-19 is to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school.  

If an infection is not introduced it cannot be spread.

The risk of spreading the infection once introduced exists in all interpersonal interactions;

  • student to student
  • teacher to teacher 
  • teacher to student

and must be managed in all settings. 

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School Covid-19 Policy

A COVID-19 policy outlines the commitment of the school to implement the plan and help prevent the spread of the virus.

The policy will be signed and dated by the chairperson and principal of the Board of Management (BOM) or Education and Training Board (ETB) and brought to the attention of the staff, students, parents and others.


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Checklists and policies that schools must follow

A series of checklists and policies can be viewed and downloaded here:





Employee Assistance & Wellbeing Programme

The department recognises the need for school staff wellbeing and collective self-care. Support for school staff wellbeing will be provided by Department Support Services including the PDST and CSL, as well as by the HSE’s Health Promotion Team.


An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for staff in schools. The aim of the Occupational Health Strategy is to promote the health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace, with a strong focus on prevention.


The Occupational Health Strategy comprises the Employee Assistance Service and the Occupational Health Service. The Employee Assistance Service (EAS) is provided by Spectrum.Life under the logo of ‘Wellbeing Together: Folláinne Le Chéile’.


September 2020

Current year leaving certificate results issued.



September 2020

Round 1 offers available from 14:00 online, also issued by email and SMS text. Applicants who have not received an offer will receive a "Statement of Application' email.



September 2020

Available place facility opens.



September  2020


Round 1 acceptance closing date.


Primary schools may use 3 discretionary days to extend this break to a 5 day break, Monday 15th February 2021 to Friday 19th February 2021 unlsess changes are required as part of contingency arrangements to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures.


September 2020


Round 2 offers available online.


Where contingency arrangements are required to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures, a school authority may reduce the length of the Easter break by remaining open up to and including Wednesday 31st March 2021.


September 2020


Round 2 acceptance closing date.