Return to school guide for students – COVID-19

Last update: October 7th 2020. Download a PDF version here.

Introduction

Please read this guide carefully, as it explains COVID19 guidelines, designed to keep you safe when in our school building.

We are following all of the Irish government’s protocols for the safe re-opening of schools and colleges, but it is very important that you read this guide, and complete our Pre-Arrival School questionnaire before your arrival at or return to the school. You can complete this form online here. Should be completed no more than 48hrs before your starting day.

Please note, google translate is not a ‘perfect translation’ but will assist you where the English version may be difficult to understand. We suggest you read these guidelines both in English AND your own native language using the google translate button.

Watch our video to see what studying at ISI is like under our health & safety protocols.

1. Travelling to Ireland and quarantine

  • Current ISI student must note that we do not recommend any international travel during your course at ISI Dublin. If you choose to travel abroad, you must inform ISI Dublin before your trip by emailing clodagh@isi-ireland.ie
  • All students arriving in Ireland or returning to Ireland from any country, must restrict their movements for a period of 14 days.  During this time, students may not come to the school building.
  • See this link for guidelines on how to restrict your movements.
  • See number 2 below regarding your accommodation requirements during the quarantine period.

2. Accommodation and transfers with ISI Dublin

We offer two accommodation options for your 14-day self-isolation period.

ISI Host families

We are only offering single bedrooms, unless two students are travelling together (friends, family, couple). Bedrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and surfaces disinfected between each arrival/departure. You are advised to bring your own hand sanitiser and wash your hands regularly. It is also recommended to maintain a distance of 1 – 2 metres from members of the household where possible, and an individual host family can request that you wear a mask when outside of your bedroom.

Extra conditions if you are arriving from a non-green list country and are under ‘restricted movement’:

  • You must book full board, i.e. all your meals will be provided by the host family
  • You cannot come to school for 14 days and you must stay in the host family house and restrict your movements. See this link.
  • There can be no host family change for the first 14 days after arrival
  • You will have to stay in your bedroom as much as possible
  • You will have to wear a mask when in the common areas of the house (except when eating)
  • You will eat your meals either at a separate time or a separate location (at least 2 metres) from the rest of the household.
  • If it’s available, you will be asked to use a separate bathroom/toilet to the rest of the family. If there is only one bathroom, the host family will provide you with paper towels and a sanitiser/cleaning detergent, and you will be asked to wipe down the toilet, sink, shower and bathroom door handles after use, disposing of the paper towels in the bin provided
ISI Residence

We are only offering single bedrooms ensuite. Bedrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and surfaces disinfected between each arrival/departure. Students from all countries will be advised to stay in their single room as much as possible and use the kitchen/living space in rotation to ensure social distancing in the apartment. Masks must be worn at all times in the kitchen/living space (except when eating) and students should have their own hand sanitiser, and use it regularly when in the common areas.

Extra conditions if you are arriving from a non-green list country and are under ‘restricted movement’:

If you are arriving from a non-green list country, specific guidelines will be issued by the individual residence. You cannot come to school for 14 days, and must stay in the residence and restrict your movements. See this link.

While each residence will have its own policy, extra guidelines may include:

  • Do not visit other apartments or bedrooms in the building
  • Wear a mask in communal areas but avoid hanging out in the communal living area
  • Sanitise everything you touch in common areas
  • Notify staff if you wish to use the laundry room
  • Do not invite any visitors to the apartment
  • Do not go out to shops, restaurants or bars – use online grocery and pharmacy delivery
  • You may go outside to exercise
Non-ISI accommodation

If you have recently travelled from abroad and are staying in non-ISI accommodation, for example, a residence, hostel or host family organised by your agency or if you have your own private apartment or house, you must also restrict your movements for 14 days. See this link. The following rules apply.

  • Only you and the person(s) you have travelled with can stay in the same bedroom
  • No new guests / arrivals can sleep in the bedroom during the 14 day period
  • Stay in the bedroom as much as possible
  • Keep use of the kitchen / living area to a minimum
  • Wear a mask at all times in the kitchen / living area except when eating
  • Avoid hanging out in the kitchen / living area
  • Do not visit other apartments or bedrooms in the building
  • Sanitise everything you touch in common areas after cooking, using bathroom etc
  • Do not go out to shops, restaurants or bars – use online grocery and pharmacy delivery or ask your friends to shop for you
  • You should only go outside to exercise
  • Try to make sure that anyone new arriving in the accommodation who has travelled from abroad adheres to these rules also. You can show them these guidelines on our website.
Airport transfers

Airport transfers can be arranged as normal, and where applicable and possible, with the host family. You will be required to wear a mask when in the car and to travel in the rear seat.

3. What to do if you have COVID19 symptoms OR had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID1919

If you have symptoms of COVID19 OR you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID19 OR you have been in contact with someone outside of ISI (work, socially) who has tested positive for COVID19, then you must not enter the school building. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear. They can be similar to the symptoms of cold and flu. Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above)
  • a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
  • shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • lost or changed sense of smell or taste

Please familiarize yourselves with symptoms of Covid-19 as compared to the flu or a cold.

Symptoms Coronavirus Symptoms range from mild to severe Flu Abrupt onset of symptoms Cold Gradual onset of symptoms
Fever or chills Common Common Rare
Cough Common (usually dry) Common (usually dry) Mild
Shortness of breath Common No No
Lost or changed sense of smell or taste Common Rare Rare
Fatigue Common Common Sometimes
Aches and pains Common Common Common
Sore throat Sometimes Sometimes Common
Headaches Sometimes Common Rare
Runny or Stuffy Nose Sometimes Sometimes Common
Feeling sick or vomiting Rare Sometimes No
Diarrhoea Rare Sometimes in children No
Sneezing No No Common

If you have any of the above COVID19 symptoms or have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID19, you should behave as if you have the virus and self-isolate for 14 days. You must:

  • Not return school – email clodagh@isi-ireland.ie to explain the reason you cannot come to class. Your attendance will not be affected.
  • Self-isolate
  • Contact your doctor by phone for a FREE CONSULTATION (see doctor list below) or call 112 for further instructions. Based on the consultation your doctor may recommend a FREE  COVID19 test. Remember, an ISI staff member can assist you in making these appointments.
  • If you do have a confirmed case of COVID19 you must follow medical instruction, public health advice and contact us as soon as possible email clodagh@isi-ireland.ie

The following clinics within 5 minutes’ walk of ISI offer FREE consultation and testing services. Do not go to these clinics if you have symptoms. You should telephone first and follow instruction. You may also contact an ISI staff member if you need help:

 

    • Jervis Medical Centre Tel. 01 8735959
      • Jervis Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1
    • O’Connell Street Medical Centre Tel. 01 8746983
      • 5 O’Connell Street Lower North City Centre, Dublin 1
    • Talbot Street Medical Centre Tel. 01 8727087
      • Talbot Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1
    • Frederick Street Medical Centre Tel. 01 8743017
      • 15 Frederick Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1
    • Polmed Medical Care Tel. 01 8749519
      • 102 Parnell Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1

4. What to bring to school

  • Pen and paper
  • Smartphone, tablet or laptop (if possible, as some materials will be emailed to you)
  • Warm clothes in layers that you can take off. Windows will be left open as much as possible to allow ventilation, but the heating will also be left on during your class.
  • Face mask ( can also be bought at ISI)
  • Water bottle

5. Return to school questionnaire

  • Once you have read this document, an online questionnaire must also be completed before coming to school. If you do not complete the form, you cannot enter the building. You will be asked to complete the form outside the building. This will have questions about
    • Recent travel
    • Social interactions with confirmed cases
    • Social interactions with those in isolation
    • Personal Symptoms
    • Covid19 related medical history i.e. tested/recovered etc.
    • Confirmation that you agree to wear a mask or a face shield in the school building
    • Confirmation that you agree to have your temperature checked every day before entering the school building
    • Confirmation that you agree to all the guidelines in this document

6. Staggered entry to school building & temperature check

  • You cannot enter the school building until you have completed the online questionnaire
  • Your classroom and teacher will be confirmed to you in advance by email and class lists will also be available outside the school building
  • The school will operate a staggered entry time. You must arrive outside the school 10 – 30 minutes before your class start time. PLEASE ARRIVE AS EARLY AS YOU CAN TO AVOID QUEUE!
  • Staff members will be outside ready to take your temperature using an infrared contactless thermometer. You should be wearing your mask. If your temperature is 37.5 degrees Celsius or below, you can enter the building via our one-way system. If it is above 37.5 degrees Celsius you will be asked to wait outside for 5 minutes to cool down. Your temperature will be checked again, up to 2 more times, and if it continues to be above 37.5 degrees you will be required to go home and you must follow the procedure listed in number (4) above.
  • If your temperature is fine, you may go directly to your class. You may also go to the student lounges/café on the ground floor in Meetinghouse Lane, or the café* on the first floor in Parnell Sq. , maintaining social distance. Cafes/lounges which will be open at the following times:
      • 8.30-9.00
      • During staggered morning breaks (as advised by teacher)
      • 12.15 – 13.30
      • During staggered afternoon breaks (as advised by teacher)

*See guidelines on using the café, number 15

7. Face masks

  • It is obligatory for all students and staff to wear a face mask when inside the building. If there is a medical reason why you cannot wear a face mask, please let us know as soon as possible.  In this case a face shield or visor  should be used but we will arrange for your seat to be 2m distance from all other people in the classroom.  This is due to research that suggests face shields are not as effective as face masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • You may wear both a face shield AND a mask, if you wish.
  • You may remove your face mask for a short period to drink water in the classroom.
  • You must not remove your mask or pull it down below your nose or mouth at any other time, unless you are 2 metres from the nearest person.
  • Your face mask should be of a good quality, preferably one purchased in a shop or at ISI. Face masks and shields are now compulsory on all public transport and in all shops, so you should have one with you at all times. If you forget to bring your face mask to school, or if you don’t yet have one, these can be purchased at ISI at special discounted prices.
    • Disposable face mask: 50c
    • Cloth face mask (washable): €2
  • Once you have entered the building you must use the hand sanitiser units in the lobby area to clean your hands.

8. Greeting your friends

When arriving at school please maintain a verbal greeting only – NO SHAKING HANDS, NO HUGS, NO KISSES or any physical contact between students or between staff is advised.

9. Hand washing and hand sanitiser

  • You should wash or sanitise your hands often properly throughout the day. There are many hand sanitisers throughout the building, one in each classroom and also in public/office areas. You can of course bring your own hand sanitiser.
  • You should also aim to thoroughly wash your hands in the bathroom throughout the day. Keep your hands in good condition by moisturising them often to avoid dry skin and cracking.

10. Walking around the building and social distancing

  • MEETINGHOUSE LANE BUILDING
      • All staff and students are required to use a one-way system, entering the school via the doors on the left and leaving the school via the doors on the right.
      • The staircase on the left as you enter is for going upstairs and the staircase on the right as you enter is for coming downstairs. These will be clearly marked ‘Entry Only’ and ‘Exit Only’.
      • The one-way system is strictly enforced during peak times (arrival at school, departure from school, breaks, lunch). Between these times, you do not have to keep to the one-way system but please maintain a 1 metre distance if you meet someone. For example, if you need to use the toilet during class, and the corridors are quiet, you may go directly to the nearest toilet, without following the one-way system.
  • PARNELL SQ. BUILDING
      • All staff and students are required to keep a safe social distance when entering the school building.
      • Students must not congregate in the ground floor or entrance hallway
      • Using the stairs and corridors, students should KEEP RIGHT at all times on ground floor, first floor and second floor. Using the narrow third floor stairs is single file only. If you are coming up the stairs and meet someone, you should return to the bottom of the stairs and allow them to pass at a safe distance.

11. In the classroom

  • You must arrive at school 10 – 30 minutes before class start time and make your way directly to the classroom as soon as you can. You may wait on ground floor (café or student lounges) if there is sufficient room to keep social distance.
  • Windows will be left open as much as possible to allow for ventilation. The heating will also be on during your class, to keep the classroom at a suitable temperature, but we recommend you wear warm clothes to class.
  • At the end of class, your teacher will organise departure from each classroom on a staggered basis. Please be patient and cooperate with your teacher’s instructions.
  • As per Irish government guidelines for schools and colleges, the furniture in each classroom is designed to allow at least 1 metre social distancing between students. The furniture should not be moved. You are required to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from all other people within the school building.
  • The desk or tablet will be cleaned and disinfected between morning and afternoon classes and again each evening, when classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned.
  • You are required to wear a face mask or a face shield (or both) at all times in the classroom and around the school, except when eating or drinking. You should already have one, as they are obligatory on public transport and to enter shops. If you forget your mask or you don’t have one yet, you can purchase one at the school (see point number 8).
  • We recommend you use a re-usable and washable face mask or face shield which can be washed each day. Disposable masks can be worn for 1 day only and you must not dispose of it in the school building. Take used disposable masks with you when leaving the school building.
  • Where possible classroom and corridor doors will be left open to maximise ventilation throughout the building and to reduce the need to touch door handles. Doors and door handles will be cleaned every day before students arrive and throughout the day.
  • You can leave the classroom to use the toilet facilities anytime, to avoid queues at break time or at the end of class. Please try to do so without disrupting your class or teacher.
  • You will not be given course books during class. Handouts may be emailed to you so you are advised to bring your smart phone, tablet or laptop to access these. Photocopies will also be kept to a minimum amount and must be taken home with you.
  • Food and/or hot drinks are not allowed in the classroom at any time. You may drink water where you facemask is removed very briefly to do so.

12. Coughing and sneezing

If you have a persistent cough or persistent sneeze/runny nose, you should not be at school. However, we can all get one-off coughs and sneezes for non-virus related reasons, such as dry throat, common cold or allergies. Please follow this procedure if you have to cough or sneeze, even if wearing a mask or shield.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
  • Put used tissues into the bin
  • Sanitise your hands using the nearest hand sanitising unit or wash your hands
  • Leave classroom or public area if you continue to cough or sneeze

If your cough or sneeze is persistent and you suspect you have cold or flu symptoms you will be required to go home and following protocols listed in (4) above.

13. Toilets

Please maintain a social distance and wear a mask or shield at all times when using the toilet facilities. To avoid queues, we recommend you use the toilets anytime instead of waiting for class breaks/ or class finish time. Please follow the maximum occupancy sign on the toilet door.

14. Virtual reception

  • To avoid gatherings and queues at the reception area there will be no face-to-face reception for the moment, but this may change. Reception services will be done via email and Zoom.
  • Attendance, letters for GNIB, PPS, bank and end-of-course certificates can be requested anytime by emailing reception@isi-ireland.ie. These documents will be delivered to your classroom for you.
  • All our other reception services will only be offered via Zoom. If you have questions, you can contact reception via Zoom (on your phone, iPad or computer) at the following times Monday to Friday:
  • 08.00~09.00
  • 12.15~13.25
  • 16.40~17.00

Zoom link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/3762239503?pwd=cDk0bFVHMmp3TjNnVTVlV2hsS3UxUT09

Meeting ID: 376 223 9503

  • On connecting, you will be placed in the virtual reception waiting room, until someone is available to speak with you. Please be patient, and note that our face-to-face reception operated in the same way.
  • Unfortunately, reception cannot supply a printing service at this time. There are many printing shops in the city centre which you can use.

15. Breaks and café

To allow for social distancing, breaks will be staggered, so there will be a number of breaks in the morning and  afternoon. Your teacher will advise you of the break times.

  • During Level 3 restrictions, the cafés are takeaway only. If using the cafés, you will have to queue at least 1 metre apart wearing your mask or face shield.
  • Payment is by contactless card only. There will be no cash or coin payments accepted at the café.
  • In Meetinghouse Lane, you can still purchase takeaway items in the café. You can then use the Student Lounges on the ground floor or go outside too eat, drink and relax, maintaining a 2 metre distance from other students. You may also take your drinks and food outside.
  • In Parnell Sq. café purchases have moved to the 2nd floor, where you can buy takeaway items and return to the café on the 1st floor to eat, drink and relax, maintaining a 2 metre distance from other students. You may also use the back yard during breaktimes.
  • If you are removing your mask to eat and drink, you must stay 2 metres from other people unless is is someone you already live with.
  • We suggest you have lunch/coffee with 1-2 of the same people from your class everyday.
  • Please do not congregate in the hall ways or stairwells in either building.
  • We encourage you to go outside to get some fresh air and take off your face mask or face shield during your break.
  • Water cups will not be supplied, please bring your own bottle to re-fill at the water fonts. Do not touch the water tap with the top of your bottle.

16. Cleaning

The school will be deep cleaned and sanitised every evening. Extra cleaning will be carried out throughout the day, and between morning and afternoon class shifts, especially in the following areas:

  • Taps, washing facilities, toilets
  • Door handles & push bars
  • Handrails on staircase
  • IT equipment (mouse, screen, keyboard, printer, site folders)
  • Eating surfaces & equipment
  • Classroom desks and tablets
  • Hand sanitisers
  • Water fonts
  • Toilet facilities

17. What you do if you feel ill at school

If you develop Coronavirus symptoms at school, you must inform your teacher or any staff member immediately, who will assist you.

If you are feeling well enough, you will be advised to:

    • leave the school building;
    • go home and self-isolate;
    • contact your GP or call 112 for further instructions. You do not need to pay for a Covid-19 test if you have symptoms. ISI staff can assist you (see number 4 or 23 for Clinic phone numbers;
    • stay at home. You may be able to join an online class if you are well enough to study;

If you do have a confirmed case of Covid-19 you must follow medical instruction, public health advice and contact us as soon as possible email clodagh@isi-ireland.ie

If you are too sick, cannot leave the building and/or need assistance:

    • You will be directed to the designated isolation area, located on the ground floor of the building.
    • You will be seated inside alone, with the window open and the door closed.
    • A supply of tissues, hand sanitiser, disinfectant, gloves, masks, clinical waste bags will be available.
    • A staff member will take your temperature to assess the situation, and will assist you in following HSE protocols by contacting a local GP.
    • You should continue to wear a mask and avoid touching anything.
    • Hand hygiene and cough etiquette guidelines must be adhered to.
    • You will be advised when you can leave the school building and what to do next. Do not return to school until your self-isolation period is completed and you are symptom free.

18. Will there be a social programme?

ISI will operate a limited social programme online and over the coming weeks, we hope to offer more and more outdoor activities. Details will appear on noticeboards and on social media feeds. Available activities:

  • Jobs Club
  • History club
  • Outdoor activity (Fridays)

19. What happens if there is a case of covid19 in the school building?

If there is a case of COVD19 in one of the school buildings, those who have had ‘close contact’ with the case, will be advised to:

  • leave the school building;
  • self-isolate;
  • contact a GP or call 112 for further instructions. You do not need to pay for a Covid-19 test in Ireland. ISI staff will assist students with this process;
  • stay at home for 14 days with restricted movement
  • The class will continue online for 2 weeks.

A ‘close contact’ would be someone who has been in a room with the positive COVID19 case, for a period of 2 hours or more, so for example, students in each classroom and their teacher are considered ‘close contacts’.

In most cases, all close contacts will need to take a COVID19 test twice before being deemed COVID free.

ISI will inform the Health Service Executive (HSE) of the positive COVID19 case and all supply close contact details. We will follow all necessary protocols, including a thorough clean and disinfection of the classroom and school building before classes start again.

In consultation with the HSE ISI Dublin will perform a Risk Assessment of the situation and based on that, all classes in the building may go online for a limited period.

20. What happens if the government introduces another lockdown

Ireland is currently on Level 3 restrictions. In the event that the government introduces Level 4 or Level 5 restrictions, the school building will close and all classes will move online. Students should be prepared for such an event by having access in their homes to a smart phone, tablet or computer, as well as WiFi or a data plan. Rest assured that ISI’s online courses will be delivered by the same  highly qualified teachers, the same number of hours per week and with the same commitment to quality. Any complaints or questions regarding our online delivery should be emailed to clodagh@isi-ireland.ie

For a full overview of Level 1 – 5 restrictions in Ireland, please see https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/ 

21. Returnees with vouchers

If you left Ireland at the start of Covid19 outbreak and received a voucher, you can now return to complete your course.

If you are an EEA student returning to complete your course you should follow these steps:

  • Contact your booking agent (if course was booked through an agency) or the school directly (if course was booked directly) and provide your arrival information. You will be required to submit a flight ticket with your name clearly visible on it.
  • Depending on your arrival date and country of residence, we will confirm  your course start date and issue updated documents if required.
  • If you are traveling from a country that is not on the official  ‘green list’, you will be required to restrict your movements for 14 days and you will not be able to come to the school building (see number 1 ‘Travelling to Ireland and quarantine’). We will offer you online classes for those two weeks.
  • If you require accommodation for the first two weeks after your arrival, we can offer host family or residence options (see number 2 ‘Accommodation and transfers with ISI’). Please contact your booking agent or us directly to make accommodation arrangements.

If you are a Non-EEA students returning to complete your course, you should follow these steps:

  • You may return to resume your studies, and the duration of your absence will not count towards the 2 years maximum period of English language study allowed.
  • Contact your booking agent (if course was booked through an agency) or the school directly (if course was booked directly) and provide your arrival information. You will be required to submit a flight ticket with your name clearly visible on it.
  • Depending on your arrival date and country of residence, we will confirmyour course start date.
  • Once your arrival and course start date is confirmed, we will issue an updated Letter of Acceptance, which will state your course details, such as original start date, attendance at the time of departure from Ireland, return date and the date when your classes will be resumed after arrival to Ireland.
  • If you are traveling from a country that is not on the official  ‘green list’, you will be required to restrict your movements for 14 days and you will not be able to come to the school building (see number 1 ‘Travelling to Ireland and quarantine’). We will offer you online classes for those two weeks.
  • If you require accommodation for the first two weeks after your arrival, we can offer host family or residence options (see number 2 ‘Accommodation and transfers with ISI’). Please contact your booking agent or us directly to make accommodation arrangements.
  • If you are a national of a visa waiver country (Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Japan and etc.) or visa country (Turkey, Russia and etc.) and have a valid IRP at the time of your return to Ireland, you will need to present it to airport immigration officials together with a school letter which you will receive before your departure. Please do not travel without this document. Please request it from your agent or the school at least 3-4 days before your departure.
  • If you are a national of a visa country (Turkey, Russia and etc.) and your IRP has expired at the time of your return to Ireland, you will have to apply for a new visa as normal in your home country. Your booking agent (if course was booked through an agency) or school (if course was booked directly) will assist you by providing the required documents.
  • In order to complete your course, you will have to ensure that the duration of your IRP matches the duration of your amended course dates and you might need to extend your IRP after your return to Ireland. To do so, please book a GNIB appointment as normal. You will have to present a letter from the school, clearly stating your new course dates, attendance and other important information. You can request this letter by emailing our reception.
  • You can then book your GNIB appointment online.
    Please note that a limited amount of appointments is available and priority is given to first time applicants.

22. Useful contacts

  • ISI daytime number Tel. 01 872788 or email reception@isi-ireland.ie
  • ISI out-of-office number Tel: 087 786 4937 (evenings and weekends)
  • Jervis Medical Centre Tel. 01 8735959
    Jervis Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1
  • O’Connell Street Medical Centre Tel. 01 8746983
    5 O’Connell Street Lower North City Centre, Dublin 1
  • Talbot Street Medical Centre Tel. 01 8727087
    Talbot Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1
  • Frederick Street Medical Centre Tel. 01 8743017
    15 Frederick Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1
  • Polmed Medical Care Tel. 01 8749519
    102 Parnell Street, North City Centre, Dublin 1