As we get nearer to the reopening of our school following almost 6 months of closure, we wish to thank you for your support during the closures and your commitment to the education of your child at home. Our staff have been busy preparing our school with changes being made to the physical building, classroom layouts, toilet facilities and break time routines.
You will have already received the staggered start and finish times designed to prevent crowding as much as possible. We urge you to stick to your allotted time to ensure the safety of all our school community.
Attached to this email is further details on other aspects of the new school year. The safe reopening of our school can only happen if everyone plays their part. We will be following the Covid 19 Response plan, which is available on our website, in line with Government guidelines to provide schooling in as safe as possible a manner.
The response plan details the preventative measures we have put in place in school before the return of pupils. Some of these are
- Induction training for all staff on the prevention of the spread of Covid 19
- Pre return to work forms from all staff
- Lead Worker representatives who will ensure that Covid 19 prevention strategies are being implemented and followed by all
- Signage throughout the school reminding all of good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Changes to the school layout to create teaching spaces that are as large as possible.
- Updated Health and Safety risk assessment
- Restricted access to the school and contact tracing logs
We will also have control measures in place to help prevent the introduction and spread of the infection:
- All the school community will be informed of the signs and symptoms of Covid 19 and are NOT to attend school if they display any of these symptoms.
- Good respiratory hygiene will be taught to all pupils and used tissues disposed of carefully.
- Hand hygiene is very important for preventing the spread of Covid 19 and other germs. Warm water is available in all toilets with soap and paper towels. Pupils will wash their hands regularly throughout the day.
- Hand sanitisers are also available at each entrance to the school and in every classroom.
- Physical distancing
As per the Government guidelines, physical distancing can be usefully applied in primary and special school settings allowing for some flexibility when needed but It must be applied in a practical way. Physical distancing will look different across the various ages and stages of learning.
Physical distancing falls into two categories:
- Increasing separation
- Decreasing interaction
Classrooms have been reconfigured in the school to create as large a space as possible. The wall between rooms 1 and 2 has been knocked to create one large room and the same has also been done with the wall between rooms 7 and 8. Our hall will also be used as a classroom for the coming year. Work is underway also on the Barrett St. side of the former Teagasc building to create another large room.
Any extra furniture has been removed and all available spaces will be used to teach the pupils. Resources for teachers will be stored outside the room as much as possible to create additional space in classrooms.
The aim of the system proposed within the school is that class groupings mix only with their own class from arrival at school in the morning until departure at the end of the school day. This is achieved through staggered opening/closing and break times and avoiding as much as possible shared toilet facilities. In primary school a distance of 1m should be maintained between desks or between individual pupils. It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors. Therefore, achieving this recommendation in the first four years of primary or special schools, is not a pre-requisite to reopening a primary or special school for all pupils.
Class groupings have been given the term ‘Bubble’ and in Junior infants to 2nd class, classes will be subdivided into smaller groups called ‘Pods’. Generally speaking, the objective is to limit contact and sharing of common facilities between Pods within those Class Bubbles as much as possible, rather than to avoid all contact between Pods, as the latter will not always be possible.
From 3rd – 6th classes will have 1m separation as much as possible.
Resources will be cleaned thoroughly before being used by a different class bubble.
Special Education teachers will clean desks/chairs and resources between any children they teach.
P.P.E. (masks and visors) will be provided to all staff for use where a 2m distance cannot be maintained. It will also be used when dealing with intimate care needs or dealing with a suspected case of Covid 19 in the school.
Cleaning of the school will take place daily with toilet areas also cleaned during the school day. Disinfectant wipes and sprays will be provided in every classroom so items can be wiped clean when necessary. A particular focus will be on commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs, chairs, tables etc.
An isolation room has been created to help deal with any suspected cases of Covid 19. If a child becomes unwell during the school day, parents will be called immediately and asked to bring them home and to contact their GP for advice. Please ensure your contact details are correct with the office. This room will be cleaned after each suspected case.
While all this seems like a lot of rules and regulations, they are all in place to keep our children and staff safe. We all must cooperate to ensure the safe and sustainable reopening of schools and many of these regulations are in place in every school in the country.
We can’t wait for the return of our pupils and look forward to the buzz of the children around the school again. While there will be differences, the familiar sounds of fun, laughter and learning will be a welcome return to some normality for everyone. For the first few weeks in school our focus will be on the wellbeing of our pupils and establishing hygiene routines. There will be no homework for at least the month of September to give children and parents a break and allow you as a family to discuss the new school routines.
In summary for parents:
- Check your child’s temperature before coming to school
- DO NOT send your child to school if they have any symptoms of Covid 19
Shortness of breath
Loss of taste or smell
been a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case
Please see https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/a04fc-advice-for-students-and-their-families/
- Entry to the school is by appointment only. Please phone the office on 059 9721075.
- Staff and pupils only on school grounds. Please do not congregate at the school exits.
- Stick to your allotted drop off/collection time.
- Ensure your contact details are correct with the office
- Children must be able to open their lunch items and bottles
- The only things that will travel between home and school will be school bags, lunch boxes and water bottles. If possible, hard plastic, wipeable lunchboxes are preferable for hygiene purposes. Please clean every evening. All rubbish will be brought home. Pencil case should remain in school.
- Uniforms should be worn only to school and taken off immediately once pupils come home.
- If you have travelled from a non-green list country, please self-isolate on your return for 14 days as per government guidelines.
- The Department of Education do not recommend the use of individual hand sanitisers as they are a poison risk due to the alcohol content. The school will provide 37 different locations where sanitiser is available including every classroom.
- Please wear warm clothing as windows and doors will be left open to increase ventilation.
Thank you for your cooperation with this plan and we look forward to working together for the safe reopening of the school.
We look forward to seeing everybody on the 1st September,
Mary Murphy, Chairperson BOM
Cathal Cole, Principal