Emergency Closures Policy
The school policy on emergency closures was drafted as a whole school exercise, involving parent representatives, staff and Board of Management. It will be circulated to the entire school community via the school website in due course.
The need for the school to produce a policy on emergency closures in recent years is primarily due to:
- Inclement weather, such as heavy snowfalls, high winds etc.
- Leaks in the local water scheme which causes a Health & Safety Issue regarding access to toilets
- Break down in heating system
- Serious damage to school building
- Critical Incident
Our policy for Emergency Closures follows the guidelines for schools available in the following publication;
National Rules for Schools – Rule 60
Relationship to School Ethos:
St. Patrick’s N.S. strives to provide a child friendly, secure environment catering for 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:
- To provide for the welfare of all pupils while on the school premises
- To ensure a safe, child friendly school environment is available to all children
- To comply with Health and Safety legislation
Heavy Snowfall: See attached Snow policy.
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. It is not the policy of the school to confirm such closures through the local Radio station.
Where the heating system breaks down, the sewage system overflows or the water pipes burst, parents will be given notice as soon as possible via text. Every measure will be taken to repair the system as soon as possible.
The procedures in place for heavy snowfall are generally replicated in the event of
storms/lightning i.e. parents are contacted via local radio & text-a-parent 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 the children have been collected by either parents/guardians.
Damage to school building
The procedures in place for heavy snowfall are generally replicated in the event of severe damage to the school building such as burst pipes, collapsed ceilings, fire damage, etc. i.e. parents are contacted via local radio & text-a-parent and informed that the school will remain closed. If the school has already opened and is in operation when damage occurs
and remaining on the premises is a risk to all – teachers will remain on the premises until all the children have been collected by either parents/guardians.
In some instances the school might remain closed for pupils in the event of a critical incident or death of a staff member, BoM member or pupil. Parents are informed of such closures either by circular or text. In this particular instance, the school may remain open to staff and BoM or Parents Association if issues such as church services, Guards of Honour, readings or counseling is required (See Critical Incident Policy).
All half days and in-service closures are notified to parents at least one week in advance.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Emergency closures in the school place particular responsibilities on various personnel within the school chain of command. These include;
- Compliance with Health and Safety legislation
- Maintaining a safe school environment for all staff, children and parents
Ratification and Communication:
It will be circulated to the entire school community.
Implementation and Review:
The policy was implemented from 2016 and reviewed in 2023.