Safe return to school
I hope that you are all keeping well. We are super excited about returning to work in the next couple of weeks. We are busily preparing the school building and making plans for an exciting new term at school. Following on from the practical and physical work, all staff will receive introductory training around a safe return to school.
As mentioned previously, classes and teachers will focus on staying positive, staying active and reconnecting with friends when planning the September curriculum. When possible we will move lessons outdoors where children will learn together in a collaborative way. It is essential that your child wears sensible walking shoes and weather proof clothing every day. Warm clothing will be necessary as additional ventilation will be organised for the building.
All initiatives introduced in the first term will be informed by the guidelines and circulars as we receive them from the Minister for Education.
What changes can my child expect in September?:
Pupils return to school on Tuesday 1st September. The school opens to receive pupils at 9:10am. No child/children are to congregate on the school grounds before this time. Each pupil will be instructed as they arrive from 9.10am onwards to go directly to their classroom where their teacher will be waiting for them.
Children in Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 1st and 2nd class work within their class in the usual way. Children in the senior classes (3rd to 6th inclusive) are expected to be vigilant about the 1 metre social distancing. Classes will not play with each other on yard.
We have divided the school into two groups in order to stagger break times. Junior Infants, Junior Explorers, 1st class, 3rd class and 5th class each have a full yard for their class to enjoy first break at 10.45am and lunch at 12.20pm. The remaining classes (Senior Infants, Senior Explorers, 2nd class, 4th class and 6th class) will take their first break at 11:05am and lunch at 1:00pm.
Dismissal for 1st class to 6th class inclusive begins at 2.50 pm, starting with 6th class followed by 5th class, 4th class, 3rd class and finally 2nd class and 1st class at 3 pm approx. Children walk or cycle directly home. Children getting the school bus will go directly to their waiting bus. Those being collected need to be collected from the yard and brought to their awaiting lift, and we ask parents/child minders to be mindful of both social distancing and childrens safety when doing this. We apologise for the inconvenience of this staggered form of dismissal. We know that, in the interest of everyone's safety, you will cooperate with the new system.
We will follow all protocols on hand washing, sanitising, cough etiquette and cleaning as instructed by the Department of Education.
Children are expected to carry their own pocket size hand sanitiser. We will also provide adequate hand sanitising facilities throughout the school.
Lunches will be offered in school as normal.
School buses are operating in the normal way.
There is no change to uniform policy. Children will be told by their class teacher when their PE day is happening and will wear PE uniform on those scheduled days, otherwise the normal uniform is worn.
Children are not obliged to wear face coverings. Common sense will inform when a face covering might be appropriate.
The Department of Education have put considerable resources into schools in order for them to fully open as planned. I will continue to communicate with staff, students, parents and all stakeholders over the next couple of weeks as the Department updates all materials as necessary. You are encouraged to contact the dedicated school re-opening helpline set up by the Department with any queries that you have about school reopening, on 057 932 4461 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any immediate steps I should take?
If you think that your child is experiencing anxiety around returning to school or around starting for the first time, I recommend that you come to the school on your own time to take the opportunity to look around and familiarise your child with the building and grounds. Junior Infants classroom is the first classroom to the right of the school hall at the front of the building. You can have a look in the windows so that your child will have a picture of the layout of a classroom. Ms Connolly, who is the Junior Infants teacher, is hosting an Introductory Day on Monday 31st August. Parents of new infants will receive a separate notice about this event.
If social interaction is going to be a concern, perhaps a couple of supervised play dates with a pal/pals would alleviate these fears.
Parents of children who are unable to return to school should seek the advice of their specialist who can advise the school how best to support the pupil and their learning.
As usual, you should plan to have the books on the book list ready, along with uniform and classroom materials (as outlined in the Book Lists)
What will the first week be like?
Your child will be welcomed warmly and treated with kindness.
As in previous years, children from Junior Infants will finish at 12:30pm for their first 2 weeks of school.
We are in this together so everyone will make a special effort to make the transition an enjoyable event.
We will keep a special eye out for any initial concerns.
Please take time to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.
Bríd Chambers Principal