We have been busy planning for our reopening over the Summer, working within the Departments official guidelines and consulting with other community schools and experts. Before school opens We will be sending out a map of the school with hand sanitiser stations, guidelines for children and parents and a video from myself, Rachel Harper giving you a tour around the school, starting at the gate and onto the classrooms. We hope this will give the children a glimpse into what they can expect and a chance for the parents, to discuss this with them.
We are really looking forward to welcoming our children back to school and will be doing all that we can to ensure that the return to school is a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We can assure you that we will work with the children at whatever level they are at, both on a personal and academic level, as we are acutely aware that many families have had different challenges during the time away from the school environment.
Acknowledging the recent changes to lock down restrictions we are still planning for a safe school re-open on Tuesday 1st September 2020. We will all be called on to play our part in ensuring that re-opening of the school is done in a safe manner which prevents the spread of the virus and allows the vital work of teaching and learning to proceed with as little disruption as possible.
Re-opening the school safely requires the co-operation of all members of our school community – the Board of Management (BoM), school leadership, staff, parents and pupils.
DES Covid-19 Response Plan
We have been working on our plan for the safe re-opening of the school for some weeks now and will forward the COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe and sustainable re-opening of the school in the near future with our information pack. The Response Plan will give details of:
Physical preparation, signage, hand sanitiser stations;
Advice, procedures and training for the safe return to working in the school for all school staff and pupils;
General and specific advice on how all pupils, staff, parents and visitors will prevent the spread of the virus.
Physical Distancing and Safe School Attendance
We are currently working on upgrading our procedures and routines within the school to ensure that there is as much physical distancing as is possible in our building. We will apply physical distancing in a practical and sensible way, recognising that the learning environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue.
Physical Distancing will be achieved in two ways:
Increasing Separation. This will be achieved by re-configuring the classrooms to maximise physical distancing. Each class will be referred to as a bubble and we will ensure that there is as little contact as possible between children in different bubbles. Within the bubbles, children will be organised into pods. A pod is a group of children (normally 6) who will sit together and who will stay in their pod while in the bubble, or classroom.
Decreasing Interaction. This will be achieved by decreasing the potential for children from different bubbles to interact. For example, children from each year group will be kept to their own class at all times throughout the day. This will include break-times. As I am sure you will understand, there will be no Assemblies, Church Services or swimming lessons at this present time. More information will follow detailing new school/classroom layout along with staggered times etc.
Our aim remains to re-open the school in an orderly, safe, enjoyable manner, while reassuring the children and making them feel comfortable, safe and relaxed with their friends in the new school environment. Like all of us the children are looking forward to getting back into a new routine. This will be achieved by all of us working towards this common goal.
While all children are more than welcome back to school, we would remind parents that, where children are displaying colds, coughs or flu like symptoms, they should not be sent to school. Children who display such symptoms in school will be isolated and parents asked to collect them from the school.
Children who have travelled from countries not on the Green List should not attend school during the 14-day self-isolation period.
Further information on COVID-19 symptoms in children is available here
Our teachers will make children aware of the proper hygiene procedures regarding hand washing and etiquette related to sneezing, coughing or spitting. We would be grateful if you could also emphasise safe behaviour in this regard to your children at home as part of the preparation for returning to school.
In the coming weeks we will be sending out more information via email and also updating out website so please do check back for any updates.