COVID-19 Mask Wearing Policy Statement

COVID-19 Mask Wearing Policy Statement

Introductory Statement:

St. Patrick’s N.S. is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our pupils. To ensure that and in response to the Department of Education directive of 30th November 2021, we have developed the following Mask Wearing Policy to be read in conjunction with our Covid Response Plan.

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

St. Patrick’s N.S strives to create a safe and healthy working environment for all members of the school community.

Aims

Through production and implementation of this policy, the school hopes to;

to comply with our Health and Safety Policy’s stated aim to create a safe and healthy school environment by tackling hazards and their accompanying risks

to ensure understanding of the school’s duty of care towards pupils

to protect the school community from ill health at school/ work

to outline procedures and practices in place to ensure safe systems of work

to comply with all relevant health and safety legislation and Covid Public Health advice aimed at interrupting the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Our Approach

All staff are required to wear face masks.

Pupils in third class upwards are required to wear face masks when in the school, apart from those with exemptions.

Where there are mixed classes, e.g. 2nd and 3rd class in a single classroom, only the children in 3rd class and above, are required to wear face masks. As per previous advice, however, parents of other children who would prefer that their children wear a face mask are not precluded from doing this.

Exemptions from wearing a mask
There are three main grounds under which children may be exempt from wearing a mask:

  • Any pupil with difficulty breathing or other relevant medical conditions
  • Any pupil who is unable to remove the cloth face-covering or visor without assistance
  • Any pupil who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the cloth face covering or visor, for example pupils with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity

The school will identify children whose needs are such that the wearing of face covering may not be possible for them.  These children will not require a medical certificate.

In other circumstances, a medical certificate from a GP, must be provided to the school.

Two -three minute ‘Mask–breaks’, where the pupil can go outdoors and remove their masks will be provided every 45 minutes.

Students will be accommodated to eat their lunches outdoor when possible. On wet days when they must remain indoors, they may take off masks briefly for eating and drinking indoors. Maximum possible spacing and ventilation of the indoor space will be ensured during those times.

Masks can also be taken off when in the yard and for PE lessons outdoors.

If sporting activity takes place indoors, masks do not need to be worn if the space is well ventilated and subject to CO2 monitoring.

Masks may also be taken off for music, but consideration should be given to social distancing and ventilation.

The schools will supply a mask to any pupils who forgets or loses their face mask and will stock a sufficient supply of masks for this purpose.

Other policies & practices

Other policies & practices which have a bearing on this policy include our Health and Safety Policy and our Covid Policy Statement.  The duty of care is considered in all areas and aspects of school life. In line with our characteristic spirit and duty of care, any pupil becoming distressed while wearing a mask will be treated with compassion and understanding.

Policy ratification and review

This policy was ratified by the Board on 2nd December 2021

It will be reviewed in February 2022.

Signed: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________          Date: 2/12/21