Our school is re-opening for all children on Tuesday, September 1st and we can’t wait to see everyone. We all want the children to enjoy coming back to school and are doing all that we can to make school as ‘normal’ as we can in these times of COVID-19. Our Board of Management has put all required measures in place as advised by the Department of Education and HSE so that we do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Our school’s local COVID-19 Response Plan can be found by clicking this link. You can find this summary by clicking this link, Summary of COVID-19 Local Plan. Please read this as it contains everything you will need to know for the first few weeks back. As we all return to school, we may have to make changes to our plan but we will keep you all informed of anything as it happens. Please rest assured that we are doing everything possible to make sure that your child’s return to school is as normal as always.
Also, here is a video that the HSE has made to show children how to wash their hands properly. We will be showing this to all classes on a regular basis and it is important that all children wash their hands before leaving home, when they come to school, before eating and after using the bathroom. Hand sanitiser from an automatic dispenser will be available in all classrooms and throughout the school as long as it is needed, We need your support to make sure this happens to please make sure your child watches this short video.
At the bottom of this page are some answers to questions you may have – there’s a lot of incorrect information going around so we hope this may help answer some of the concerns you may have. If you want to ask anything at all, please give us a call or send us an email.
Some changes to our usual school day include:
- Only the back gate can be used to enter or leave our school at any time. This is the gate into the yard from James’ Street East.
- Children should walk, cycle or scoot to school if possible – they can use the bike and scooter shelter as before. If we need to get more racks, we will do so as soon as possible.
- There are changes to the start and finish times for all classes to ensure as much social distancing as possible
- All children must arrive on time for their collection times by their teachers from the gate to make sure we can socially distance between classes. We thank you for your co-operation.
New Staggered Start and Finish Times
Start Time Class Finish Time 8:40 Junior Infants and Senior Infants 1:20 pm 8:50 1st class and 4th class 2:30 pm 9:00 2nd class and 5th class 2:40 pm 9:10 3rd class and 6th class 2:50 pm
- For families with more than one child, we will supervise the children who have later start times in the yard until it is their turn to go into class – you don’t have to come up to the school two or three times in one morning – just come at the earliest starting time.
- It is the same for home time – the child who finishes earlier will be supervised in the yard until the child who finishes the latest is going home.
- Please make sure your child has a warm and waterproof coat to wear to school as we will be outdoors as much as possible, especially at start and finish times.
- Children are not to bring school bags or any other personal items to school – we have plenty of hand sanitiser and everything else your child will need during the day.
- If your child likes to drink water during the day, they must bring their own filled water bottle because we will not have water beakers in the classrooms as we did before.
- If your child is bringing a water bottle and/or lunch box, they must carry them into their classroom – do not put them in a bag. You can bring them in a bag to school but each child must bring the very bare minimum into their classrooms.
- The school will provide all stationery (pencils, pens, copies, colours, etc). If you have already bought these for the new school year, they can be kept at home for homework and project work after the children have settled back into school. Also, for items such as school bags that you may have bought new this year, they can be used later this year, next year and beyond.
- For the first while back in school, children will not have any homework.
- Children will still wear uniforms and tracksuits but if parents/guardians prefer, the tracksuit can be worn on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the full uniform on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Otherwise, the usual school clothes routine still stands.
- Parents/guardians and all other visitors will not be allowed to enter the school grounds or building at any time without making an appointment first – something we never thought we’d have to do but in these times of COVID-19, we have to take every precaution possible. We know you all understand.
- Parents/ guardians and other visitors who have an appointment must to wear a mask in our school.
- The DES does not say that children have to wear face masks in primary schools. However, if you would prefer that your child wears one, then they can, of course, do so. Please make sure that your child knows how to properly store, put on and off their mask and if it is a disposable one, how to dispose of it properly and safely. Please note that teachers will not be ‘policing’ the proper use of masks and this is the responsibility of parents/guardians to show at home.
- If your child is sick, you must not send them to school. They may have another infectious illness. Please ask your GP for advice.
- If your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19 at home, you must not send them to school. These symptoms include a high temperature, cough, difficulty breathing and loss of taste or smell. Please ask your GP for advice.
Frequently Asked Questions:
My child always seems to have a cold or runny nose. Do I have to keep them at home if this happens?
The DES says that as many children always seem to have a cold or runny nose, this is not a reason to be worried that they have COVID-19 and they should go to school as normal. Just make sure that your child knows to cough and sneeze into their elbow and to wash their hands if they have had to blow their nose. If your child is showing other symptoms of COVID-19, they must be kept at home and you must contact the HSE on 1850 24 1850 for advice.
My child has an underlying condition and I’m worried about sending them back to school. What do I do?
Firstly, please talk to your child’s GP or consultant and they will advise you best. If you have any questions regarding our school, please call or email Siobhán Weekes, our principal, and she may be able to answer these. She will also be able to talk you through all measures we have taken to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school.
If your child is in a high-risk category but is well, the DES advise that they return to school as usual.
If your child is in a very high-risk category and you are advised not to send your child back to school, they will be supported at home as well as we can do so. Your child’s class teacher will talk to you about this.
What happens if my child is showing signs of COVID-19 during the school day?
If we think that a child is showing signs of COVID-19 or any other infectious illness, they will go to one of our ‘Buddy Corners’ in the school building where they will wait with a member of staff until a parent/guardian or another authorised adult comes to collect them. Each Buddy Corner has a store of hand sanitiser, masks and everything else needed. Your child will be with a member of staff for the whole time, will be given a mask to wear and will be kept as comfortable as possible while you or someone else comes to collect them. The Buddy Corner will then be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected immediately once your child goes home.
You must then contact the HSE for advice on 1850 24 1850 about what to do next and you must follow their advice.
Just like before COVID-19, at no time will your child be given any medication or injections of any kind by anyone in the school without your written permission. Remember, you have to give your permission for any vaccinations, booster shots, hearing and vision tests and dental check-ups or anything else that the HSE do in schools. Also, the school will not be informing the HSE that your child is showing signs or symptoms. Our only role if this happens is to keep your child as safe and comfortable as possible and to call you to say that your child is ill and needs to go home immediately. As usual, we will take as good care of your child as we can.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school?
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in any school in Ireland, the HSE will contact the people who were in close contact with the person who is diagnosed with COVID-19. The HSE will also advise the school about what to do next and we must follow that advice. We cannot inform parents or staff about any suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 – the HSE will tell us what to do in each confirmed case.
My child has no health issues but I am concerned about my child going back to school. Who do I talk to about this?
Please call or email us if you need to talk about the very real and valid concerns you have – we take these very seriously. We may not have all the answers but we will do what we can to help answer your questions as best that we can and will always follow DES and HSE guidelines.
I don’t want my child to go back to school. What are my options?
Please call or email Siobhán Weekes, our principal. She will do her best to answer your questions about our school’s set-up as we reopen and about home-schooling. We know that this is a worrying time for many people, especially for parents/guardians who have a close family member with an underlying health concern so we will do what we can to help.
If you do not want to send your child back to school, you must register with TUSLA that you will be teaching your child at home as a home-schooler. This means that your child will no longer be enrolled in our school and that you will be taking full responsibility for your child’s education while they are not enrolled in any school in Ireland.
We have just come back from a country that is not on the Green List? Do we have to quarantine for 14 days?
Yes – if you have returned form a country that is not on the Green Lists, the HSE advises that you must quarantine your and your child for 14 days. Your child must not come to school before the 14 days of quarantine is finished.
If I can’t go into the yard or school like I used to, how can I talk to my child’s teacher or to the principal?
This is a very hard one for us – not having parents in the front or back gate is something we ever thought we’d see. However, we are still here if you need to speak with us – just call or email to make an appointment to come and see us or we can always give you call or set up a Zoom meeting. We are very proud of our home-school relationships and we will do our very best to keep these going in these times of COVID-19.