Cappawhite N. S. Emergency Closures Policy
The school policy on emergency closures was drafted as a whole school exercise involving staff and Board of Management.
The need for the school to devise a policy on emergency closures in recent years is primarily due to inclement weather, such as heavy snowfalls, high winds etc.
Should some other exceptional circumstances arise (for example, failure of the heating system or damage caused by vandalism), the Board of Management may close the school even if the school cannot be kept open for 183 days (Rule 60).
Rule 60 (Exceptional Closings)
If a school has not been in operation for at least 183 days in the school year the grant of salary and allowances may be reduced, unless owing to some exceptional cause it has not been possible for the school to be in operation for 183 days, in which case the Minister may abate this requirement.
“Exceptional cause” may include the following closures:
*Rule 52 (1) states: “Works of maintenance should be carried out, as far as possible, during the vacation periods”.
Rule 62 (Closing of School in the interests of Public Health)
When the closing of a school is deemed necessary in the interests of public health, the written recommendation of the Medical Officer of Health should be obtained by the Chairperson of the Board and forwarded to the Department. The responsibility for closing the school rests with the Board of Management. If notified by the HSE, the school may also be closed as a result of a Covid 19 outbreak. All HSE guidelines and protocols will be followed in the case of such an event.
Circular 28/94 advises management authorities that the Director of Community Care/Medical Officer of Health is the appropriate person to decide on matters in relation to public health. Directors of Community Care/Medical Officers of Health may delegate that authority to the Senior Area Medical Officers or the Area Medical Officers who normally are local General Practitioners.
Relationship to School Ethos
Cappawhite National School strives to provide a child friendly, secure environment catering for all the needs of all students as far as is practicable and where respect is fostered in a culture which values diversity and difference
Aims and Objectives
Heavy Snowfall or Storms
In the event of a heavy snowfall or storms , the Principal shall consult with the Chairperson of the B.O.M. as soon as is feasible, and a decision is made as to whether it is in the interests of all parties to close the school. If a red weather alert for the area has been issued, the school will automatically be closed
If it is decided to close the school, the school authorities will contact the local radio station and Facebook page administrator and request that regular announcements be carried on the airwaves that the school will not be opening.
Parents and staff will be contacted through the school text a parent system.
The bus operators servicing the school will be contacted by the Principal or another designated person, confirming that the school will not be opening. If the snowfall or storm is prolonged over a number of days and the school is closed indefinitely, parents and bus operators will be informed of re-opening dates through the local radio station, facebook page and Text-A-Parent.
Disconnection of Services
Where water or electricity services to the school are to be disconnected, a week’s notification is normally given to the school authorities. This enables the school to furnish the parent body with the relevant advance warning of such closures via circular or text.
High Winds / Thunderstorms
The procedures in place for heavy snowfall are generally replicated in the event of storms or lightning i.e. parents and bus operators are contacted via local radio or text and informed that the school will remain closed. If the school has already opened and is in operation when high winds etc. occur and remaining on the premises is a risk to all, teachers will remain on the premises until all children have been collected by either parents / guardians or bus operators.
In some instances the school might remain closed for pupils in the event of a critical incident Parents are informed of such closures either by email or text whichever is appropriate.
Roles and Responsibilities
Emergency closures in the school place particular responsibilities on various personnel within the school chain of command to ensure
Ratification and Communication
This policy has been in operation in the school since having been communicated by the B.O.M by means of circular following ratification at the school B.O.M meeting.
Implementation and Review
The redrafted policy will be implemented immediately and will be reviewed in the light of unplanned events that lead to unscheduled school closures.
Chairperson of the Board of Management