Reopening guidelines [updated October 22 2021]

Fáilte Isteach reopening guidelines [updated October 2021]

Fáilte Isteach can now resume face-to-face indoor classes but reopening is dependent on your venue.

Details and the steps involved in beginning face-to-face classes are outlined in full below - click the green drop downs to find out more.

If you decide not to resume face-to-classes, online classes may be explored where possible. Further online support and training can be scheduled for all groups who wish to avail of digital support.

Fáilte Isteach aims to allow those who would like to work online to do so and support the introduction of face-to-face classes where safe to do so. The health and safety of all participants is of paramount importance and guides every decision being made about Fáilte Isteach classes. 

Please note: No group is obliged to start up face-to-face or online - the comfort of participants and tutors is of utmost importance to us. We will monitor and adapt our approach as circumstances change across the country in line with public health guidelines.

The ‘Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead’ plan covers the phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland. You should continue to follow public health advice to protect yourself and others, including advice on social distancing.

**Under current public health guidelines, the commencement of Fáilte Isteach classes is subject to venue-specific measures dependent on room size, capacity and available facilities. Groups of up to 6 people (included tutors) are permitted indoors, with arrangements in place to ensure no intermingling of groups.**

Whether your group can begin face-to-face classes is largely venue-dependent. Follow the steps below to assess whether now is the right time for your group to begin classes: 

Please note: your venue or partnered community group may already have documentation and regulations in place. If this is the case, please let us know so we can record this information. 

Step 1: Speak to your venue

Many open venues will have already carried out a risk assessment in line with up-to-date guidelines. This assessment will outline details around room capacity. Restrictions around numbers will inform your decision on whether classes can restart.

Step 2: Share your venue’s risk assessment/policy with Fáilte Isteach 

If your venue has a risk assessment or policy - and you decide to begin face-to-face classes - this policy must be shared by email with Fáilte Isteach [] at least 7 days before classes start.

Step 3: Assigning a COVID-19 compliance officer role

Ask your venue if they have an in-house COVID compliance officer or a person responsible for COVID-19 related procedures. If not, and before classes begin, one member of the team (coordinator or a volunteer tutor) should be assigned as the group compliance officer. This person will be tasked with ensuring measures are communicated and understood within the wider group. The nominated person will be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and understand how the virus is spread.

Step 4: Contact us

Once you have a successful risk assessment and are happy that classes can go ahead, contact the Fáilte Isteach team by email at to notify us of: 
• the class day and time
• risk assessment details 
• contact details for your group COVID-19 compliance officer

Once you have decided to restart face-to-face classes, there are a number of steps advised to help support volunteers before your group begins again in a venue. Read below for our advice on how to support tutors returning to volunteering.

Important: All documentation noted in these guidelines are downloadable. Access the complete folder here.

Step 1: Share information with your volunteers

Share as much information as possible with your volunteers, ensuring that it is made clear that no volunteer is obliged to begin tutoring face-to-face if they are uncomfortable doing so.

Share the following information with volunteers before classes begin to allow them to make an informed choice about returning to volunteering:

Step 2: Pre-Return to Volunteering form

Before class restarts, all volunteers should be provided with a Pre-Return to Volunteering Form. This should be completed and submitted to the group coordinator before classes commence.

Step 3: Consider a pre-class induction with volunteers (optional)

Advice from Volunteer Ireland includes hosting a re-induction with volunteers ahead of restarting your group. This step is optional but the advice shared in the Return to Volunteer Induction Meeting Checklist document may be useful to coordinators. This may be carried out in an informal way with volunteers and no documentation or data are required to be shared with Fáilte Isteach.

If you decide to postpone classes in your community, that’s no problem. There are many reasons why a class may not continue at this point in time.

It’s useful however to communicate this clearly with both the team in Fáilte Isteach by email at and with your volunteers. Volunteer Ireland has provided a resource to assist with this titled ‘Postponing or closing your volunteer group – How to communicate with your volunteers’.

Managing numbers

Tutor and student registration may be required to manage the number of students attending the classes in line with current restrictions. In line with public health advice, no more than 6 people should be in any single grouping. If possible, 2 metre distancing between all participants should be adhered to.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing details [name and phone number] must be gathered at the beginning of each class (a contact log template provided by Fáilte Isteach), and data held by the coordinator of the groups for a minimum of 14 days.

For more information about holding data and GDPR, visit our Reopening FAQ page

Many groups have successfully launched classes online over the past 18 months. We've learned a lot in that time! Ifyou are planning to try online for the first time this term, follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Contact us

Let us know you are thinking of beginning an online class. We can share and promote your class on our website and support you through any challenges you may encounter.

Step 2: Register your interest in online training

Dates for training sessions in September and October are available and include support for working in a digital space and tutoring online.

To register your interest in attending a digital training, contact Claire at

Reopening guidelines [updated October 22 2021] image

Download the complete folder of all supporting materials for reopening

All of the documentation noted within these guidelines as provided by Fáilte Isteach for coordinators and volunteers are listed below.


Download policies and support resources for reopening

• Fáilte Isteach COVID-19 Policy Statement
• Pre-Return to Volunteer Risk Assessment COVID-19 (Volunteer Ireland)
• Return to Volunteer Induction Meeting Checklist (optional)
• Volunteering Safely During COVID-19
• Your Wellbeing as a Volunteer During COVID
• Postponing your Fáilte Isteach Group – How to communicate with your volunteers
• Printable contact tracing log sheet