Introduction

The Government of Ireland announced on March 12th 2020 that all schools, creches and third-level were to close in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. This was done without advance notice to any of these institutions. Our school staff acted as effectively as we could in as short a timeframe as possible. 

Considering COVID-19 restrictions still exist nation-wide this plan has been drafted to ensure that, in the case of a class or whole-school closure, we will be able to employ a different model of teaching and learning as we shift to distance learning for as long as necessary. 

In the event of a class or school closure, the children will continue to be taught the curriculum based on individual teachers’s short- and long-term planning. The delivery of this teaching and learning will be dependent on the class-level, be age-appropriate and reflective of children’s ability to work independently. 

This plan was drafted after consultation with all staff members, parent surveys & feedback as well as informal data gathered from the period of the last school closure from March to June. 

This plan reflects our school’s Distance Learning Policy and Loaning of Devices Agreement ratified by our Board of Management on October 15th 2020).   It further reflects the document, Guidance on Remote Leaning in a COVID-19 Context: September – December 2020 as published by The Department of Education and Skills (DES) on October 8th 2020. 

 

Aims of our Distance Learning Plan 2020-2021

As a whole-school community, we need to be proactive in our response to the need for distance learning, whether in the case of the closure of a class/classes or in the event of a whole-school closure. In this regard, it is vitally important that we are ready to roll-out our distance learning plan immediately as the need arises, whether in the case of a class or whole-school closure.

All members of our whole-school community need to be familiar with this plan and also with the roles that everyone will play in this. This plan forms our automatic response to any class or school closure. 

The different elements of this plan are designed to assist our staff to continue to continue to deliver the curriculum while employing distance learning methods of delivery of teaching and learning. 

Teaching and Learning for All Classes

  • The curriculum will continue to be delivered to all children in the case of a class or whole-school closure. 
  • All teachers and SNAs will work during the school day, Mondays to Fridays, on any day that the school would usually be open in accordance with our school calendar. 
  • All lessons will reflect teachers’ current teaching and planning and be suitable to the level of the class.
  • Teachers will provide a daily format to the children in their class, which will help families plan each day’s learning.
  • Teachers will outline to families how children’s work will be monitored and how feedback will be provided. 
  • Teachers will share their short-term plans on the shared drive. This includes preparation for children with SEN. These plans will be shared with substitute teachers and other relevant teachers as required. 
  • Lessons and work should be recorded and distributed at a steady pace to ensure children are securing the learning.
  • Core books (English, Irish, Maths) will be sent home with the children if a whole school closure is announced. 
  • Where possible, work-packs will also be sent home with the children.
  • Mini whiteboards, markers and erasers will also be sent home.
  • In the case of a class closure where children would not collect the necessary books and materials,  the school will arrange for the socially distanced collection of books and materials needed. 
  • Where required, classes will be set up with access to subject-specific online resources as selected by teaching staff.
  • Access to the books online will be organised through publishers such as cjfallon.ie.

 

Digital Learning

  • We will use online platforms that all members of the whole-school community are already familiar with:
    • Class Dojo will be used to share pre-recorded lessons, assign work, contact children and allow children to upload work to their teachers.
    • Children will use Zoom for group and whole class online classes. 
    • Padlet may be used to curate online resources per class in one easy-to-access area.
  • Each child will have four small-group daily online Zoom lessons with the class teacher. There will be one whole-class Zoom session at the end of the week.
  • In order to progress with the core subjects of the curriculum, it is vital that all children attend each scheduled session.
  • Each child will have a timetabled daily read-aloud session.
  • All details of any online teaching and learning will be sent to parents’ email addresses.
  • Different distance learning approaches will be taken with different age groups but there will be elements of daily online learning for all age groups. 
  • Not all children will have access to an Internet-enabled digital device. Where necessary, the school will lend a device in accordance with our Loan of Devices Policy

 

Junior Infants, Senior Infants & 1st Class

  • Work packs that reflect the current teaching and learning of the class will be prepared by the class teacher and distributed to children.
  • Short lessons covering basic phonics, reading, Maths and Gaeilge will be recorded and put on the Class Dojo page. The contents of work-packs and group sessions should help reinforce this learning.
  • Small group sessions can be used for teaching, though this might not be suitable for all children.
  • A whole class session once a week will be used to share a story, news, PE activity or an art activity.

 

Sample Timetable Junior Infants, Senior Infants and 1st Class

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 
Yellow Group

9:00-9:30

Phonics

Numbers- counting

Phonics

Gaeilge

Maths

Reading/ Phonics

Gaeilge

Music- Song

9:30-10:30

Whole Class Zoom

Story

Singing

New

Blue Group

9:45-10:15

Phonics

Numbers- counting

Phonics

Gaeilge

Maths

Reading/ Phonics

Gaeilge

Music- Song

Green Group

10:30-11:00

Phonics

Numbers- counting

Phonics

Gaeilge

Maths

Reading/ Phonics

Gaeilge

Music- Song

 

 2nd Class- 6th Class

Where appropriate and required, work packs that reflect the current teaching and learning of the class will be prepared by the class teacher and distributed to children.

  • Short lessons covering basic phonics, reading, Maths and Gaeilge will be recorded and put on the Class Dojo page. Work pack and group sessions should help reinforce this learning.
  • Each child will be timetabled for daily small-group Zoom lessons Monday to Thursday with a whole-class. These will cover the core subjects (English, Gaeilge, Maths) and Religion. They will vary in length but will be 40-60 minutes. 
  • SESE, Arts and SPHE will be covered through assigned tasks and activities.
  • A whole class session will take place on Fridays. .
  • Whole class Zoom sessions can be used to have a quiz, do an art activity or any other social activity that will help each child’s well-being. 
  • Work that can be done independently will also be assigned on Class Dojo. This should reflect the teaching time you have done and be appropriate for the children at their level.

Sample Timetable 2nd– 6th Class

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 
Yellow Group

9:00-10:00

English– Oral Language

Maths

Gaeilge

 

Mental Maths

Religion

English- Reading

Gaeilge- Dán  

Gaeilge- Leitheoireacht

English- Poetry

Maths

English- First Steps

Gaeilge

Maths

9:30-10:30

Whole Class Zoom

 Still Life Drawing

Singing 

SPHE- MIndfulness

 

*Preparation for next week videos, lessons and correcting 

Blue Group

10:15-11:15

English– Oral Language

Maths

Gaeilge

 

Mental Maths

Religion

English- Reading

Gaeilge- Dán  

Gaeilge- Leitheoireacht

English- Poetry

Maths

English- First Steps

Gaeilge

Maths

Green Group

11:30-12:30

English– Oral Language

Maths

Gaeilge

 

Mental Maths

Religion

English- Reading

Gaeilge- Dán

 

Gaeilge- Leitheoireacht

English- Poetry

Maths

English- First Steps

Gaeilge

Maths

 

NB All individual timetables are to be shared between all staff members so that there is clarity around which children are online at any given time. 

 

Real Aloud Sessions

  • Reading aloud for all children must play a central and daily part of our distance learning plan. This is to ensure that children continue to develop reading fluency, comprehension and spelling skills.    
  • These read aloud sessions will be timetabled and led by teachers and SNAs.

 

Special Education

  • Special Educations Teachers (SETs) and Special Needs Assistants SNAs) will need to take the needs of individual children into account.
  • Zoom contact will be important though may not be as effective depending on the needs of the child. In such instances, SETs and SNAs can use other communication methods as best suited to the child, i.e. a phone call, FaceTime, etc. 
  • SETs and SNAs should have access to individual classes’ Class Dojo if necessary and contact information of the children in their groups.
  • Class teachers and SETs will need to liaise to ensure that they are not scheduling meetings with children at the same time. 

 

Staffing in Case of A Class Teacher Being Declared Unfit to Work During a Closure

Our school will do all that is possible to ensure that the needs of the children will be met if the class teacher is medically unfit for work during a closure. 

  • If appropriate and available, a sub teacher will be engaged to carry on the work of the class teacher, in accordance with standard practice when the school is open. 
  • If a sub teacher is not available, and depending on other timetabled ZOOM lessons, a member of the SET team will carry in the work of the class teacher. 
  • In the case of a lack of availability of SETs, the principal will carry out the work of the class teacher.  
  • If the principal is not available, the children will continue to work offline from home and online classes will resume as soon as possible. 

 

Role of Home School Teacher

While we hope that all children participate in all aspects of distance learning,  the home-school teacher will work under the guidance of the principal to follow up with parents whose children are not engaging in online sessions to offer support and advice.

In case of a school closure, the home school teacher will also assist to provide other supports, such as arranging for the provision of lunch kits and school supplies and basic digital support and advice.  

 

Home School Communication

  • Our school will communicate with all families as much as possible in the case of a class or school closure. 
  • Class teachers and SETs will communicate directly and daily regarding teaching and learning. The principal will communicate with families regarding whole-school matters.

 

Email

  • All members of staff have their own work email addresses and these have been forwarded to all families. 
  • Please use these email addresses to contact the relevant teachers or SNAs as needed. 
  • If there is a change to a parent’s email, the class teacher must be told immediately.

 

Class Dojo

  • All class teachers will use Class Dojo to allow children to submit work and to receive assignments, instructional videos and other parts of the teacher’s teaching and learning plan. 
  • The links for each class have been sent to all parent’s email addresses.

 

Website

All relevant documents referring to our distance learning plan, COVID-19 updates and all other important information will be published on our website.

 

School Landline

  • In the event of a full school closure, we cannot guarantee that we will be allowed to enter the school building. However, our school’s landline will be monitored for any voicemails. 
  • The principal will have a separate mobile number and will give this to all parents and guardians.

 

Response Times from the School

  • In the event of a class or school closure, all members of staff will continue to work the same hours and days as they would when the school is open. 
  • Any email, Class Dojo or phone communications from parents will be answered as quickly as possible 
  • We remind all parents that any communications made outside of working hours may not be answered until the next working day.