Emergency Closures Policy

Introduction
The school policy on emergency closures was drafted as a whole school exercise involving parents, pupils, staff and Board of Management. It was circulated to the entire school community in March 2008.

Rationale
The need for the school to devise a policy on emergency closures in recent years is primarily due to
a) Upgrading of the local systems on a phased basis which may lead to supplies being disconnected.
b) Inclement weather, such as heavy snowfalls, high winds etc.
c) Building programmes and alterations to the design of the school which have necessitated unscheduled closures on Health and Safety grounds in recent years.

Relationship to School Ethos
NET 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

  • To provide for the welfare of all pupils and staff while on the school premises
  • To ensure a safe, child friendly school environment is available to all children and staff.
  • To conform with Health and Safety legislation

Procedures
Heavy Snowfall
In the event of a heavy snowfall, 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 it is decided to close the school, the school authorities will contact the parents, through text-a-parent and the local radio station, KFM (97.6), making use of a special code supplied to the school and request that regular announcements be carried on the airwaves that the school will not be opening.

All 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 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 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. It is not the policy of the school to confirm such closures through the local Radio station.

High Winds / Thunderstorms
The procedures in place for heavy snowfall are generally replicated in the event of storms / 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 parents / guardians or bus operators.

Critical Incident / Death
In some instances the school might remain closed for pupils in the event of a critical incident or death of a staff member, B.O.M member or pupil. Parents are informed of such closures either by circular or text whichever is appropriate. In this particular instance, the school may remain open to staff and B.O.M or Parents Association if issues such as church services, Guards of honour, readings or counseling is required (See Critical Incident Policy).

Roles and Responsibilities
Emergency closures in the school place particular responsibilities on various personnel within the school chain of command –

• Positive school community feedback
• Conformance with Health and Safety legislation
• Maintaining a safe school environment for all staff, children and parents

Ratification and Communication