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Re-opening our school

(letter below also sent to all parents and staff via email)

Dear parents and staff

All the news in the media this week has been around the welcome re-opening of our schools. I am delighted to say that we will be opening as planned. We have received a lot of information from the Department of Education throughout the week. The Board of Management is committed to adhering to Government guidelines around measures to avoid the reintroduction of Covid-19. We have been given a "Roadmap" for the full return to school in September.

The school will apply a balanced and common sense approach to introducing protocols to limit the transmission of Covid-19. These measures will include emphasis on hand washing and appropriate cough/sneeze etiquette, social distancing and thorough environmental cleaning.

We are fortunate that four classes and fifteen school staff successfully road tested these regulations when we opened for Summer schooling in July. Our cleaners Mary and Joanna, along with our caretaker Ged ensured that every effort was made to keep surfaces pristine, and I would like to thank all of those staff for their support. A huge thank you also to our bus escorts Majella, Ann-Marie and Judy who worked to ensure that the children got to school safely each day. We are grateful to the bus companies: O'Haire’s, Chambers' and Moran's, who provided a service despite the lack of support from the transport department. We believe that our system is robust and is in line with regulations.

We may need to adjust some aspects of how the school and classrooms are run. It may be necessary to be very specific about how children are dropped off to the school and where they play during break time. These are issues which the Staff and Board of Management will address in the coming weeks. Teachers will manage their classes (bubbles) in pods (groups) which will conform with 1 metre of social distancing. There is no onus on children to wear face coverings. Children may opt to wear face coverings when not in the classroom setting (for example at playtime and arriving for school). When the time comes for us to open our classes we hope to be fully trained and ready!

For those worried about children falling behind or being anxious about returning following a long break, please be assured that the Department of Education has issued guidelines to teachers around transitions and places a strong emphasis on well-being. The advice is to "Slow down in order to catch up". Hopefully we will get an opportunity to do more activities outside if Autumn weather is pleasant.

As is the case with other work and sporting environments, any member of the school community who is unwell or displaying symptoms similar to those of the Covid-19 virus, should not attend school and should notify the school in order for contact tracing to be carried out.

No visitors will be allowed into the school without a pre-arranged appointment. Parents will need to remember to notify the school if they are calling to collect their child for an appointment or if they are dropping off a forgotten item. We will all get in on the system with practice.

Finally, if you have concerns around your or your child's health being compromised following a return to school, I would advise you to make contact with your healthcare professional (G.P., Respiratory Consultant, Cardiac professional etc) and request that they advise you on how this issue should be managed. Rest assured that the school will do everything to facilitate those recommendations.

We will be in touch towards the end of August to outline further plans around our return to school.

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday.

Bríd Chambers


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